Social Media is a wonderful, powerful thing. Until its not. I dont recall how I first learned about Casa Vieja in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Perhaps I read about it on Chowhound or the excellent Eat The World. But it was most certainly not via Yelp. In fact after the first time I took Mrs Z to Casa Vieja and posted about it on Instagram, my friends were curious about taking my culinary spoiled wife to a place ranked so low on Yelp (three stars). Thats because the type of people that visit Casa Viaja dont review on Yelp. A whopping 15 reviews for one of the three oldest Mexican in Sunset Park (Tacos Matamoros, Tacos El Bronco are the others).
Like some of the Arab eateries of the neighboring Bay Ridge, and the Chinese neighbors in the East, it helps to know the language in this part of 5th Avenue. I think I’m getting to the point that its a little too late in the game to tell my regular waitress that I dont really speak Spanish. I’ve given her many clues, like not speaking a word of Spanish, and even accidentally uttering a Buonasera once or twice in the few attempts we tried. We are not only the only non-Spanish speakers in this casa, but in the entire block sometimes. If you measure authenticity by a foreign country like environment, Casa Vieja is as genuine as it gets.
However very often “authentic” doesnt translate well due to poor ingredients, execution, or cultural differences. Sometimes in order to appreciate a dish, it helps to grow up with it. Thankfully this is not the case here. Everything I’ve had here so far has been fresh tasting and pleasing to the palate. Flavors I dont expect in cheap Mexican restaurants. I usually start with the Tingas these days. Mini crispy tacos loaded with delicious shredded chicken with chopped tomato, lettuce, crumbled cheese and some tangy aioli. The corn on the cob is always solid although oddly overpriced.
Tacos, even on 5th ave can sometimes be bland and uninspiring. Not the case here, at least with the Al Pastor and Chorizo. The Mole here is superb. Try it on Enchiladas with steak. But the one dish I must have every single time, that usually follows me to the car is the excellent Lomo de Puerco Adobado. Beautifully marinated Pork Loin, with zucchini, corn, and dressed with sauce that got some seriously sneaky heat that even the Szechuan loving neighbors to the east can appreciate.
6007 5th Ave (60th), Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Rating: 2 Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Lomo de Puerco Adobado, Tingas, Enchiladas with mole, Tacos