So You’ve Had Mexican Empanadas. Now try Venezuelan

By on February 21, 2012

Working on the East side of town, I could probably go somewhere different for lunch every day for the next month and not have to eat at the same place twice. There are so many little privately owned places in the few surrounding miles that many people have never even heard of. Sad thing about that is there are so many really great little gems people miss. Last week, while in search of some tasty Mexican food I happened to pass a shopping center I’d been by recently, and I remembered seeing a little Venezuelan restaurant that had opened recently. Since Tulsa does not have a large number of Venezuelan restaurants, if I want Arepas or Empanadas I have to make them myself. Needless to say Mexican for lunch was a notion long forgotten by this point.

The restaurant itself is small, and very simple. There couldn’t have been more than 8 tables but most of them had a gentleman or two sitting around chatting waiting for their food. The menu is also very simple, with several choices of Empanadas (little half-moon shaped pastries with savory fillings, similar to a Cornish Pasty) and Arepas (stuffed cornbread cakes) ranging from shredded beef, chicken or ham to beans, cheese and plantain (all $3.50). The have a “Pepito Sub” ($5.50) with beef, chicken, cabbage & carrots and a “Pabellon Meal” which comes with shredded beef, black beans with cheese, fried plantains and rice ($6.99).

We decided to try a few different things, so we ordered the pabellon meal, one each of the chicken and beef arepas, and the pabellon empanada. We noticed while standing at the counter to order (which looks into the open kitchen) that all of the items are fresh. Empanadas and arepas are stuffed to order. Because of this, even though the restaurant is casual, it is not fast food, so expect your food to take 10-15 minutes. You can use the wait time to surf on your ipad, since the restaurant has free WiFi. The pabellon meal and empanada (shredded beef, cheese, black beans & plantain) arrived first. I kid you not the shredded beef was some of the most flavorful I’ve had. Usually I’m a slow cooked pork kind of girl, but this was fantastic. The two dishes were very similar component-wise but I wanted to try each of them separately as well as in the empanada, which was also served with two sauces. One was the “Casanova Sauce” which was a creamy cilantro-garlic sauce. The second was a house-spiced hot sauce. Both were delicious. While the pabellon meal was fantastic, stuffing it all inside a crispy dough crust made it even better.

The Arepas arrived just as we were finishing the first dishes. Arepas are little cormeal cakes that are pan fried and then baked before being split in half and stuffed with a variety of tasty fillings. We ordered one chicken and one beef. The chicken was cooked properly (still moist and tender) and actually tasted like…well chicken, as opposed to many of the dry flavorless versions I’ve run across that serve as little more than a vehicle for sauce. The beef of course was still the favorite because it is just so dang tasty. If you haven’t tried Casanova’s, you’re missing out.

Casanova’s Restaurant
10915 E. 31st Street Suite B15,
Tulsa, OK 74146

Chef Amanda Jane Simcoe:

Amanda Simcoe is a chef and food connoisseur. She absolutely loves good food and appreciates the art of cooking and trying new things. Also known as “The Cheese Wench,” she knows most everything there is to know about cheese. She loves using fresh ingredients and has a huge garden where she grows much of her own produce. Amanda also enjoys making beer at home and cooking elaborate meals.

About Amanda Jane Simcoe