101 San Jacinto Blvd.
Austin, TX 78701
3010 Anderson Ln., Ste. #D
Austin, TX 78757
There’s a restaurant across from the Four Seasons downtown called Casa Chapala. It’s owner Lupe’s casa, and he treats you like you’re an honored guest. This man understands hospitality and many styles of Mexican cuisine. He also dispenses tequila shots like a true bandido and what’s not to like about that?
I’d like to share with you some of my favorite dishes from this engaging and very tasty dining emporium.
There are many very enticing appetizers at Casa Chapala representing a broad variety of Mexican styles. To begin, you can order the level of spice you prefer in your salsa and they mix it for you at the table. Nice touch! I love the Shrimp and Mango Ceviche. This is a thoughtful and delicate dish with jicama, serrano peppers and beautiful lime marinated baby shrimp. The pico de gallo is also very flavorful. I also like the Empanadas de Camaron which are masa empanadas filled with shrimp, onion, tomato, garlic and pico de gallo. This is an exceptionally tasty appetizer, and it all starts with the rich masa.
The Chapala Fireball is another very appealing choice. It’s a fresh avocado stuffed with spicy chicken, jack and chedar cheese, and crested with a rich and mellow chipotle cream sauce. And it’s a very healthy choice!
The Queso Fundido is a great version of a classic. This is a mix of Oaxaca cheese, chorizo, grilled peppers, onions, and I recommend corn tortillas.The shelf life of this dish is not a long one but it’s sheer bliss when it comes out hot and oozing flavor.
And I must remind you about the Chicken Tortilla Soup. This is a rich and hearty concoction enhanced by fresh cilantro, avocadoes, and interestingly, chopped tomatoes. Lovely flavors here including a hint of queso. The requisite tortilla strips round out the sparkling caldo.
The House Specials at Casa Chapala are just that: muy especial! It’s easy to announce you have house specials but harder to really deliver them. They do here! I really like the Carnitas Zacatecas. This about tender, succulent pieces of pork sauteed with lime juice, onions, and pico de gallo here. The flavors are searing but easily accessible to all but the meekest palates. And the Carne Tampiquena is another keeper. This is a broiled skirt steak but the flavor key is that it’s simmered in a Guajillo pepper salsa and jalapeno pepper strips. I’m not normally a fan of skirt steak but under Lupe’s capable direction, this dish is not only tenderer than I’m used to but quite tasty. And most of you know that I love Cabrito. Casa Chapala’s take on this dish is quite impressive. It’s fairly spicy but laden with really interesting and captivating flavors. The cabrito is roasted, Jalisco style, and it’s moist and perfectly cooked. And you’ve got to try the Enchiladas Marinas. Now this is flavor! I love a fresh corn tortilla stuffed with sauteed shrimp and crab with onion and tomato. The salsa blanca and melted jack cheese round things off nicely.
There are a number of really nice and savory seafood dishes at Casa Chapala. You like Camarones al Mojo de Ajo? I sure do. And these beautiful, succulent shrimp sautéed in a citrus butter garlic sauce are the bomb, or would that be la bomba? Anyway, this dish simply won’t quit. One of the better versions around. And if you prefer red snapper, then you’ll love the Pescado Veracruz. The snapper is baked and topped with a variety of piquant olives and peppers in the classic veracruz style. The mild tomato salsa rounds out the appealing dish.
One thing I like about Casa Chapala is their “no reglas” (no rules) philosophy. That’s why they’re holding a Cinco de Augusto festival on August 5th! And why not? This is a restaurant that emphasizes both taste and fun! Bienvenidos à la Casa Chapala!