Casa Rasta does tacos, with Mexico, Caribbean tastes
Pick the right name, and it says a lot.
Yep, you guessed it — the little Beechview restaurant does tacos, a touch of tropical Caribbean heat.
To most of us Northerners, Caribbean and Mexican food are two separate things. But Mexico isn't separated from that body of water by much — its Gulf is right next to the Caribbean. Mexican food has plenty of interesting regional variations, too. There's more to it than the monolithic combo-plate menus we tend to get around here.
Chef/owner Antonio Fraga lived in Mexico City until he was 14, then began traveling all over the country. He spent time in Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, where he picked up an interest in the distinctive flavors of the Caribbean.
“We try to make it nice and humble as possible,” Fraga says. “Not to be too pretentious about it, and focus more on the quality of the food they're getting. Usually, when people talk about a restaurant, they talk about the ambience more than the quality of the food, or the taste.”
Fraga is selling his place a little short. The ambience of this tiny shop along the T line on Broadway is as warm and inviting as grandma's kitchen — well, if grandma listened to a lot of reggae — and about as big. It fits only about three tables and some barstools along a counter.
Quesadillas are $2, tacos are $2.50, burritos and tortas are $6. Two tacos are enough for a nice light lunch, and three are a fairly filling meal.
The obvious place to start is the Jamaican jerk chicken, but there's also Mexican sausage (chorizo), pulled pork, steak, citrus-marinated pork, and beef, each with a customized assortment of onions, cilantro, and several sauces and salsas. The sauces get changed up a bit — an amazing, spicy yellow pepitas mustard wasn't there on a second visit.
For a place with a big grill out front, the vegetarian options are surprisingly strong. The potato and poblano chile tacos (or burritos, quesadillas, etc.) are particularly good.
“I've been trying different vegan plates,” Fraga says. “Trying to get into healthy eating, giving the vegetarians and vegans a little more variety in the menu. When it was hot (outside), we tried a cauliflower seviche. It sold super-good. People kept asking for it.”
Fraga has plans to expand the menu to larger, full-plate entrees sometime soon, while keeping the simple, unpretentious vibe of Casa Rasta going.
“It's the same cooking I do at my home for my kids, and my family did for me back in Mexico,” he says.
Casa Rasta, 2102 Broadway Ave., Beechview. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. Details: 412-223-6106; www.casarastapgh.com
Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7901.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Starkey: Taylor’s type fading away
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- Marte jump-starts Pirates in win over Brewers
- NFL draft preview: Rich harvest of receivers
- Defense shines in Pitt football spring game
- Pirates notebook: Is it time for Kang to head to Indy?
- Penguins notebook: Johnston says Perron needs to shoot