Victor handled the company's wine program and special events while Julieta took care of VIPs.

"Do you know what posole is?" he asks. The blood-red soup, which we didn't try, comes with slow-roasted pork shoulder, big tender kernels of hominy corn, oregano, and crushed chili and dates back to the era before European explorers arrived. The Aztecs ritually ate an ancient version of this soup during special occasions. At times, it was said to have been made with human meat.

Julieta is likewise eager to explain the depth of each element of the restaurant, that the glass jars on each table, filled with jalapeño peppers, disks of carrot and cauliflower florets, are called escabeche. "I'll bring you some chips so you can try it," she says before disappearing into a door near the open kitchen. The pickled vegetables are numbingly spicy alone or with a chip but, cut up and added to any dish, make the perfect hot sauce.

Casa Frida's signature dishes are made with cochinita pibil, a marinated pork leg.
Casa Frida's signature dishes are made with cochinita pibil, a marinated pork leg.

Details

Casa Frida Mexican Grill, 5441 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 954-530-3668.

Tamale with chicken red mole $3

Los panuchos $7.50

Steak norteña $12

Seafood tacos $8.50

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Steak norteña ($12) originated in northern Mexico and is a huge offering that was nearly impossible to finish as the restaurant fills up during the weekday lunch hour. The kitchen, staffed by cooks from Mexico City, managed to cook a thin strip steak, larger than a man's hand with outstretched fingers, to a perfect medium rare. It is accompanied by two enchiladas stuffed with piquant, sweet onions and cheese topped with a smoky sweet green tomatillo sauce. The price seems even more a bargain as the plate is expectedly filled out by refried black beans, rice, and a healthy dollop of smooth guacamole that holds an acidic punch.

The Bocoses' small wait staff followed their lead. Servers eagerly explained unfamiliar dishes and checked in after each bite. Julieta says she wants Casa Frida to be cozy. It is, thanks to warm service, despite the sensory overload from the walls.

The Bocoses have taken on the doubly hard tasks of fighting the stereotypical perceptions of Mexican food and trying to reeducate people where they've already formed opinions. However, the chocolate in the chili sauce and the constant plying of guests with a glass of wine or a margarita is the right way to start. Sure, they've got a long way to go before putting Taco Bell out of business, but we hope to be there every step of the way.

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5 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

from YELP for example......................."We sat down - asked for margaritas which the waiter said they had, BUT he failed to mention a huge point - it is made with essentially no tequila because they don't have that kind of license - misstep 1-waiter should have said that but instead I had to drag it out of him-not cool!"......................................."We weren't looking to spend a ton of money in a little Mexican joint, but the first thing I noticed were the $17 fajitas and $16 tamales (3 average size tamales on a plate with a small scoop each of rice and beans). Seriously, who pays $16 bucks for 3 tamales...these things are like 2-3 bucks each MAX (I usually get mine for less than 2 actually). Ok, so I paid the $16 expecting to be blown away by what must be the very best tamales in the world. They were disappointingly average, and that's being nice."

see the difference when you aren't panning for ADVERTISING SALES ?

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

BTW i'm heading to JALISCO for lunch today.................but my daughter is a big frida kahlo fan and when i saw the movie i became one also although i think that had more to do with the actress playing kahlo than the art

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

that's why YELP is much more informative for the patron BUT for the newspaper giving reviews puts the restaurant in a position to have to BUY ADVERTISING space which generates revenues for the newspaper = anything on FEDERAL or LAS OLAS is typically a tourist trap anyway so who really cares - right ?

Robin
Robin

The food isn't good. This article is written by someone who got all of their information from the restaurant and who doesn't know anything himself, and who never has had real Mexican food. Going to this place is like going to your Aunt Carol's. Home made isn't always good.

JoeB
JoeB

yeah, I read restaurant reviews to find out all about the owners and the history of their cooking techniques. Amateur stuff.

 
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