Sometimes we just drive to see if we can spot a small restaurant we’ve never heard of, and today we found Las Cazuelas, just off Lake Michigan Drive. It’s a small restaurant holding seven booths and two tables. A man greeted us and we saw a woman through the window opening to the kitchen. Other than that, we had the place to ourselves.
Our host let us take our time with the four-page menu (one page for kids) and promptly brought us corn chips and mildly spicy, full-flavored salsa. We enjoyed them while we perused the menu and found we had to go right to the main dishes.
Our first choice was #10, fajita las cazuelas with chicken. Grilled breast of chicken, bell peppers, and tomatoes, with the usual rice and beans, was an delicious dish with fantastic, homemade tortillas. The rice and beans were a step above the usual Mexican restaurant offerings.
Our second dish did not fare as well. The #6 choice was flank steak with one enchilada, accompanied by rice, beans, and tortillas. The cheese enchilada was amazingly delicious but the flank steak was a poor choice, probably more a customer error. It was tough and more like beef jerky with an unpleasant flavor, so lesson learned.
Overall, it reminded us of the wonderful Cafe San Juan, but a bit bigger, and with disconcerting wall noise. We were seated in a booth against the adjoining wall of another business and kept hearing a scrambling sound. Mice? Rats? We finally asked and were informed that birds fly down into it from a roof vent and get trapped. Alrighty then.
Overall, the food is well-prepared and above par, along the lines of El Granjero and Maggie’s Kitchen. They’ve been in business since 2005 and can be found on twitter @LasCazuelasRest and on Facebook as a “friend,” not as a page to “like.” Take a drive out and support this small, local, and very worthy business. The cheese enchilada alone will make your trip worthwhile.