Casa -- Brazilian in the West Village
We ended up having dinner at Casa at 72 Bedford St. last night, mostly because we were in the neighborhood and this was the only place that we felt like trying that didn't have a wait. We were very pleasantly surprised.
For appetizers, we had cheese breads and fried yucca sticks topped with parmesean - an inspired combination. The texture of the yucca was also remarkable, crisp, tender and floury all at once, very different from boiled, how we usually have it. We had caipiriinhas to drink, both a classic (lime), and one made with cashew fruit juice. Since I said that I had never tried this before, the waiter brought me over a taste of the juice before I ordered.
Mains were ximxim, a chicken and shrimp stew with a very complex flavor that was hard to place. My brazilian cookbooks say that the sauce is based on palm oil, fried shrimp, and peanuts, which may be true. To us it tasted almost like a moroccan chicken and lemon tajine. Also good was the fish baked with onions and peppers. Both came with VERY garlicky rice. We had passion fruit mousse for dessert, which was a delight. The only problem with the meal was an inexplicably long wait between apps. and mains, but we weren't in a particular hurry, so we didn't mind. Definitely worth a revisit, though -- very pleasant atmosphere as well.