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Restaurant Review – La Casa De Pedro

La Casa De Pedro serves Venezuelan food in a great atmosphere. The restaurant recently moved from Watertown Square to 343 Arsenal Street (just down the street from HBS), because increased demand caused a need for more room. Its authentic menu makes this increase in demand understandable.

Saturday night my husband and I went out on a date to La Casa De Pedro. Who would have known that there are restaurants outside of Harvard Square, but closer than downtown?

After driving five minutes down the road we went past the restaurant to park in the back. One great perk is that eating in Watertown means free parking without having to walk for miles in the cold. As we walked by, a strobe light was flashing through the window. I thought it might be a hot Latin Club inside, but soon realized that it was the fire alarm.

In the midst of the chaos we were able to be pleasantly greeted and seated in less than a minute. The alarm was turned off and the customers resumed the normal dining experience as if nothing had happened. They were able to do so because the staff had remained professional through the whole ordeal. Water was in our glasses and we were greeted with a friendly smile from our waiter once we had settled into our seats.

Once the alarm stopped and we were able to look around, I noticed how nice the decor was. The ceilings were high and held up by beautiful pillars. Each darkly painted pillar had a light piece of artwork on it that looked like a painting of shadows on sand.

As my eye continued to gaze around the room, I noticed how the larger paintings hanging on the walls expressed more of the Venezuelan culture. The restaurant was dimly lit and they lowered the lights in the middle of the meal, making it even harder to see my date.

We looked over the menu and at the beginning there is a letter from the owner. He accurately describes the food: “My dishes, like my mothers, are also simple, with an exact amount of spices and love.”

If his mother inspired the menu, she must have had a taste for alcohol because half the menu is different kinds of alcoholic beverages. It makes for fun choices, but I would steer clear of the red sangria because it lacked flavor.

This was made up for by the Chicken Empanada we ordered. It was great by itself, but when the waiter offered the hot sauce we decided to enjoy the whole experience. I definitely recommend trying it. The waiter warned that it was very hot and he was not exaggerating. I had the littlest bit, and every part of my mouth was full of the flavor! I definitely needed the sangria to put the flames out. However, the hotness of it did not take away from the great taste.

For an entree I ordered the Carnitas Encebolladas (lean sirloin strips, deliciously seasoned and sauteed with onions), and my date had the Pabellon Criollo. Pabellon Criollo is the most traditional Venezuelan dish. It contains shredded beef slowly simmered with vegetables and is served with rice, fried plantains and black beans.

Both entrees came to our table at the perfect temperature. We found the owners description from the letter to be fitting. The taste was not overwhelming, but simple and good. The portions were a little on the small side, but they consisted of more meat than rice. This is nice considering the prices which for an entree range from $16.99 to $25.00.

We passed on dessert, but if it is anything like the rest of the experience I’m sure it’s delicious. They also have a great lunch menu with a special section of items for takeout that are “guaranteed to be served fast.”

This would be a great place to take a date. The lighting is romantic, there is not a lot of background noise near the table, and the seating is comfortable. You would be comfortable dressed in anything from jeans and a cute top to dress slacks and a collared shirt. Also, it looks large enough to accommodate a learning team and even section dinners. It is a great experience at a great location.

La Casa De Pedro
343 Arsenal St.
Watertown, MA
617.923.8025
www.lacasadepedro.com

Rating: 3

March 5, 2007
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