I try to avoid the suburbs. I would rather find myself lost among the trees and rolling hills of the vast countryside or racing for a cab (or the N train) between two concrete and steel slabs before I set foot in the Anytown USA that is the American suburbs. Kew Gardens however, is an exception to the rule. The neighborhood’s million dollar tudor-style homes with their pristinely manicured lawns make for a luxurious break from the Queens norm. Forget the luxury condos that are sprouting up all over the borough. If you want quiet decadence, take a stroll amid the streets of Kew Gardens just as I did last weekend. You will either be pleasantly surprised, or bored to death. Upon visiting this unchartered territory for a few hours, I was the former.
My friend had just gotten some new wheels and we decided try them out, taking a ride to the other side of our borough. Walking among the neighborhood we stumbled upon Tu Casa, a peruvian restaurant on Metropolitan Avenue. It appears to be a sleepy casual joint during the weekday lunch hours. Though sitting among the bustling main strip, it offers a more animated experience for evening diners. The Spanish and Peruvian choices on the menu revealed their stamp of authenticity at first bite. The Carne Guisado (beef stew with rice and beans) was a hearty explosion of juicy meat and its accompaniments. The tender cuts of beef seemed to melt in our mouths as they slid effortlessly off the bone. And the good part is, we got this meal for under $7 from the lunch menu. Next stop was the pricier ceviche. Our server bestowed our table with a large plate of healthy chunks of seafood marinated in lime juice served with corn nuts and sweet potato. The delicate tastes of cod, octopus and tender calamari balanced the citrus infused nectars as they swam freely throughout the dish. Sweet potato and corn nuts seem like an unusual side with this entree, but combine the flavors of sweet and sour on your palate and you will forget everything you thought you knew about taste and texture. The soft sweet mush of the potato and the crispy salt of the nuts mixed together with the ceviche is an unique mouthful all skeptics must experience. We stuffed our hungry faces and as a result saved no room for dessert, but a return visit is in order. Check Tu Casa’s website for information on when they set-up shop in Astoria on Steinway Street!
Tu Casa 119-05 Metropolitan Ave. | Kew Gardens, NY | 718.441.6363