For a change of pace from Mexican food, and because my Ecuadorian friend was in town, I ventured out to try Colombian cuisine at Casa Vieja in Carrollton. Casa Vieja is located in a mixed ethnic shopping center on the northwest corner of Belt Line and Josey. There’s a large Vietnamese market, several pho shops, a First Chinese BBQ, and a couple of Mexican restaurants. Inside, Casa Vieja is homey with warm golden walls, painted booths, and lots of South American themed decor (including a large collection of miniature houses) throughout. Since we were there close to closing time on a week night, it wasn’t too busy, with 3 other tables of Spanish speaking customers.
My only other experience with Colombian food was in Houston at a restaurant called Mi Pueblito, so I’m no expert. But the menu appeared to offer many traditional Colombian specialties, including two versions of bandeja paisa (a dish so popular that the Colombian government considered declaring it the national dish in 2005), the regular portion and the mini portion. I ordered the mini, because from experience at Mi Pueblito, I knew it was going to be more than sufficient. I was right.
The bandeja paisa at Casa Vieja had all the typical items, rice, beans, chicharron, thin grilled skirt steak, fried egg, sausage, a plain arepa, fried plantain, and a slice of avocado. For my Ecuadorian friend, it hit the spot for comfort food. The rice was a perfect complement to the richly flavored (stewed with ham?) beans. The best meat item was actually the chicharron (fried pork belly), which is ironic since I’m not usually adventurous with meat dishes. But it was seasoned just right and fried to a crisp on the outside, a bite let out the burst of rich flavor on the inside. The sausage was interesting, a little sweet. The steak was little on the dry side for my taste. The arepa and fried plantain were standard and a good break from all the meaty items.
We also had the empanadas as an appetizer. They were excellent, seasoned ground beef encased in a crispy fried corn flour shell.
Currently, I’m not aware of any other traditional Colombian restaurants in DFW (there are a couple of chicken places), so I will probably be back when I get a craving. Service was friendly, and we didn’t feel hurried even though we got there only 30 minutes before closing time.
Rating: 3 /5
1927 E Belt Line Rd #152