by Ellen Shaughnessy
Casera means ‘home-made’, but the experience here is more than that… chef Karina Turtzo takes great care in preparing her family-style ‘carribean/spanish’ influenced dishes. Her cuisine features carefully chosen local ingredients cooked with warmly-spiced panache. Dinner menus change monthly, and given the food quality it’s an excellent value for the $35 prix fixe (September menu cost).
Not only is the food lovely, but the original wood trims and vintage victorian accents of their home/bistro-gallery nurture a warm and intimate dining experience. Background music that complements the meal is just enough for each dining party to feel like they can converse comfortably.
In recent history 134 north 2nd street housed the Project Blue gallery, which was owned by a close friend who sold the property in spring of 2010. It was surreal to be sitting in that same dining room a couple of years later, to enjoy another fantastic meal in the company of good friends. Karina and Brian Turtzo are carrying on the creative spirit here, and curate artists’ work that works well in the space. Currently Casera is hosting photographic prints of Northern Spain by their first featured artist John Sterling Ruth – a well respected and experienced photographer from Bethlehem, PA. These photos really helped set the mood for the scrumptious cheese plate we enjoyed with fresh manchego and other northern Spanish delights.
Our cheese plate was followed by very delicious littleneck clams with lager broth and shaved chorizo. Our dinner companions asked if it would be rude to use a straw for the broth… so good! Next was a pulled slow roasted pork from local organic meats purveyor Breakaway Farms, with a salsa verde and pickled jalapenos. We had to have seconds. Dessert was a lovely caramel flan with a coconut orb of Karina’s and the serving sizes were perfect.
As we sat here in the dining room where we had enjoyed lovely dinner parties with our friends Marc & Maria a few years ago, one very special New Year’s Eve came back to mind. It was about 11:45 and Maria told us about a Greek tradition of exiting the rear of the house to say good-bye to the year… then parading around the neighborhood with clanging pots & pans, and going into the front of the house to welcome the new year with good luck. Of course we then proceeded with our Easton version of the ceremony (sorry if we woke you!) …and another fabulous new restaurant has paraded into town.
Casera is just one of 6 more exciting new restaurants opening in downtown Easton this fall… Karina was most recently with the Momofuku restaurant group in NYC and moved on to open Corkbuzz Wine Studio as the Operations Director in NYC. She is still active in the NYC restaurant scene but has made time to finally do her own thing here in town.
Brian has worked as an Art Director and Bartender in NYC; we are fortunate that they now bring the best of their food service experiences to their home here in Easton. For a comfortable dinner out that is non-pretentious, yet elegant, as well as an excellent value (BYOB) try Casera.
10/10/12 foodie update!! welcome to
Easton’s spectacular Maxims 22 french bistro – now open for lunch & dinner at 322 Northampton St