|1101 West 5th St.
Austin, TX 78703
When Cathe Dailey announced her plans to close the beloved Castle Hill Café this summer, there was much weeping and consternation in the Austin food community. And even when Dailey followed up with plans to launch Corazon at Castle Hill, many of the faithful were still miffed. How could Castle Hill be replaced?
Well, I’ve tried the new Corazon at Castle Hill and while the long-time icon may not have been replaced by Corzon, it has most definitely been equaled!
Corazon means heart in Spanish and Cathe and exec chef Mike Taddeo have crafted a menu that will please even the most ardent Castle Hill loyalist. And that’s because the old Castle Hill was about heart as well. All that’s changed with the new restaurant is the focus of some (not all) of the dishes.
We began our most recent meal at Corazon at Castle Hill with a stunning Posole Blanco Soup. Posole dates to the pre-Columbian area and is made from hominy along with tomatillo, green chiles, and roasted pork. My advice is to skip the traditional cup serving and get a bowl. The flavors are beautifully integrated and I savored each sip.
The next killer choice was the Barbecue Shrimp Taco. Chef Taddeo chose to serve the barbecue grilled shrimp, picked red onions, mango slaw and candied pecans open faced over a tasty homemade tortilla. What a great idea! The correlation between the visual anticipation and the gastronomical appreciation that this affords cannot be underscored. This is a must try!
We also tried the Flautas Carnitas which proved to be another excellent choice. Think about this: fried corn flautas filled with pork carnitas. Then this intoxicating mixture is served with a charred ancho sauce, sun-dried cherry chutney and queso fresco. The ancho sauce, interestingly, comes off on the mild side and the queso fresco provides beautiful balance. The only minor blemish was the Lamb Empanadas in which it was difficult to discern the flavor of the lamb.
The entrees have the Mike Taddeo stamp all over them: lovingly envisioned and executed. The Shrimp Enchiladas are stuffed with sautéed shrimp, green onions and a variety of cheeses. That’s cool! Even cooler is that they are served in green verde made from tomatillos, charred poblanos, white wine, garlic and fennel. The dish is garnished (in the broader sense) with chipotle chile puree, guacamole and pico de gallo. I don’t ever recall completely denuding my enchilada plate. But I ate EVERYTHING! It was perfect.
Equally delicious was the Seared Fish of the Day in a Guajillo Cream Sauce. Black Drum was the choice that day and it was a good one. What makes Chef Taddeo’s dishes so appealing is that everything works together. The guajillo cream sauce went beautifully with the accompanying tomatillo puree, corn relish and the corn pudding tamale.
We finished with the Apple Pecan Crisp with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream and Cajeta. I defy you not to like this dish. The apples, pears, and toasted pecans along with just a bit of putter are served over the ice cream with a drizzle of cajeta (spansh syrup). This was confection perfection.
So Corazon at Castle Hill should definitely be back on your radar. It should also be on sonar and any other location devices available!