A sweet little Ecuadorian storefront restaurant has survived for more than three years on Fells Point's Latino restaurant row, where storefronts tend to come and go. That alone speaks to the quality of La Cazuela, (1718 Eastern Ave., 410-522-9485), which distinguishes itself from its competitors with its genuine restaurant feel (beige tablecloths and spotless, sunny surrounds), the attentive ministrations of owners Enrique and Marina Tapia, and its consistently fine food. Yet on a recent visit, we were troubled to see the place nearly empty. Hey, folks, this is a true Baltimore find, so go. And go hungry. For pure comfort, nothing beats Cazuela's churrasco, a platter of nonstop strips of nicely marinated skirt steak, along with heaping portions of rice, avocado, and thick fries, all topped with two fried eggs. A killer ceviche and queso fresco-stuffed plantains vie with savory empanadas for small dishes you'll want to share. And the namesake cazuelas—casseroles swimming with, say, fresh shellfish and other seafood delights—are balm to the soul on chilly nights. La Cazuela obtained a liquor license some time back, but even if you pile up on the beer and wine, this place is still the bargain of the century. Did we mention that you should go there? Tonight.
If you haven’t been to this Ecuadorian gem, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Issue date: November, 2007