On the second floor of The Carlton Savannah Hotel hides CASA RESTAURANT, one of Trinidad’s most elegant and best kept secrets for dinner.
We were invited to CASA for a chef’s table dinner and loved it from the time we opened the door.
Upon entering, your eyes are immediately drawn to the floor-to-ceiling ivory curtains strategically placed throughout the restaurant, ensuring privacy for almost every table. Meanwhile, discrete lighting, well-paced mirrors and the soft furnishings (including those curtains) beautifully warm up the dining room of rich dark flooring and walls.
Our dinner at CASA RESTAURANT started with a quick visit from Executive Chef Jose Marquez and Executive Sous Chef Leasanne Quan Kep who walked us through the evening’s menu as we munched on housemade “lemmony” hummus and bread.
First up was the House Salad served with a Carrot Purée & Lentil Chow, a refreshing salad of mixed greens (including patchoi) cleverly wrapped in thinly sliced cucumbers. With a nod to local condiments, the salad came with a chutney-choka mashup of roasted bell peppers, black olives and an herb dressing. Our meal was off to great start!
The evening’s prettiest dish graced the table next, a Grilled Shrimp & Scallops served over Herb Dhal Puree with Parsley and Blue Chili Oils.
We were equally enchanted with the course that followed, the housemade Seafood Tortellini.
The kitchen’s talent was on full display here as the shrimp-filled tortellini were light and packed with flavour! With perfectly grilled shrimp and scallops along for the ride, shrimp actually did double duty in this dish. A lone scallop played host to a garlic chip-garnish so irresistible that we wished there were more garlic chips.
The Chicken Supreme came next and although it was tasty, it was the one miss of the evening in terms of presentation. The chicken was stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and cheese and dressed with orange & olive oil emulsions, and accompanied by carrot and green pea purees, dhal and red pepper fricassee.
All dressed up in browns and punctuated with yellow dhal, the Seared Sea Trout redeemed the presentation of the Chicken Supreme. Flavoured with Thai spices and served with lentils and dhal, the trout was perfectly seared. The flesh was appropriately moist but more importantly the pan-searing had rendered the fish skin crisp, crackly and flavourful. Thanks to CASA, that night we fell in love with fish skin.
We’re now five dishes into our CASA dinner and are so stuffed that upon the appearance of the Pan-Fried Lobster, we wonder aloud if it’s possible to eat anything else.
Thankfully, our love for the king of crustaceans triumphed and we dug into the lobster, which was flawless. And the lobster’s companions, a roasted garlic flavoured mash and veggie stack of grilled eggplant, zucchini, red peppers and onions, did it delicious justice.
We closed our CASA tasting with two scrumptious French and Spanish/Venezuelan desserts — the Le Concorde and Bienmesabe.
First up was the Bienmesabe, rarely if ever seen on Trinidad restaurant menus. Translated from Spanish as “tastes good to me,” Executive Chef Marquez explained that Bienmesabe is a popular dessert of his home country, Venezuela.
The base of this textural powerhouse dessert was a two-layer tres leche cake, which was topped with a coconut cookie, coconut creme and coconut anglaise. All this coconut yumminess was then topped with roasted coconut. Tastes good to me, indeed!
Thanks to the different backgrounds of those helming the CASA kitchen, our dinner was a welcome combination of dishes from multiple cuisines and local ingredients. Also, worth noting is that all the courses are made in house from scratch, including the hummus and breads along with the dessert elements like the chocolate mousse, merinuges and the coconut cookies.
Having thoroughly enjoyed dinner, we resolved to organize a staycation at The Carlton Savannah to try the rest of the dinner menu and enjoy CASA’s tea service which should be added in the next few months.
Hours/Features/Menu: Dinner only 6:30pm-10:30pm. Full service; Full bar; Tea service is coming soon. Menu CASA Restaurant Trinidad.
Address: The Carlton Savannah Hotel (2nd level), Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Phone/Email: (868) 621-5000; firstname.lastname@example.org.