Acasa, in Sunnyside
It's a fairly new Romanian restaurant that opened on Skillman bet. 48th and 49th st. and I have been a few times since it opened.
The bad news is that it has mostly the regular Romanian restaurant fare: the usual appetizers (eggplant salad or caviar, whatever you want to call it, a salad a la russe, mashed white beans etc) and for entrees, other than the usual grilled meats and offal, schnitzel and fish, they have a bit of home-style dishes as cabbage with smoked hocks, white beans stew and an excellent fish in a vegetable stew that's called saramura. They also let you know if they have any specials.
The good news is that everything we tried was very good. When it first opened for the first 2 visits there was some lack of salt in some of the dishes but that's not something that can't be easily fixed. I'd rather have my food under salted than over salted.
This is what we tried and liked: the cabbage and beans dishes, the salads mentioned above - all excellent (I asked them to grill the bread a bit for them, but that's me), the tripe soup (again w/grilled bread), the white bean soup, the saramura (for which I want to go back soon), the Greek salad and some grilled sweetbreads on one ocasion. And of course, mici (sausage without casing, much like cepavici).
Overall, it's pretty good. Be forewarned that I noticed an announcement for live music on fridays and saturdays - the space is pretty small and I expect it to be quite noisy. Weekdays they only have a TV running on satellite Romanian tv.
Trivia: one of the co-owners and chef is the former grill cook from Romanian Garden, his name (Mitica) it's actually on the awning, written in tiny red letters in the left corner - Acasa means home and the restaurant's whole name is "at Mitica's Home"
I'd love to hear from others that have tried the place.
I met a waiter/barman at an Upper East Side italian place called Sistina (we just stopped by for a drink) and he seemed inordinately informed on the subject of Grappa. He also, it turned out, was not Italian, but Romanian, and his favorite Romanian place to eat was Acasa. So there you go, kudos from hearsay.
Thanks to this, I went there this afternoon and had a delightful meal. There is a sign outside that says, in Romanian, eat like at your mom's house. But that's not true unless your mom's a great cook! I had pork stew. Pork tenderloin by some magic made succulent and tender... usually it's as appealing as chicken breast or tofu...simmered with tomatoes, mushrooms, bay leaf, sausage. Alongside, two perfectly shaped mounds of polenta, one topped with melted cheese, the other with a perfectly poached egg. All prepared gracefully and well, as if a talented graduate of a top cooking school were given a Romanian recipe. But the cooks could have passed for grandparents in a Romanian (or any other) village. The decor is modern, like a Greenwich Village bistro, but cleaner. And I discovered Skillman, which is a lovely street. I even saw toilet paper on sale for half Manhattan prices, so I lugged 20 rolls back to Manhattan. All in all a lovely afternoon.
re: Brian S
I've been meaning to go back and yesterday, a sunny day a bit warmer than those we've been having, I made the lovely walk from the 7 train. It was as good as last year. I ordered the Ciolan cu fasole because the menu said it is a SPECIALITATEA CASEI What I got was worthy of being a house speciality: a pork chop that had been smoked, and tasted like lovely ham, with white beans stewed with a bit of tomato. So it was basically ham and beans, but a really good homemade version. It would have been at home on a farmer's table in Oklahoma. I walked along Skillman to 61 St. The same store still had the toilet paper on saie, but they'd run out.
48-06 Skillman Ave, Queens, NY 11104
Brian, I'm glad you had a good meal. Sounds like you had "tochitura" (toh'kee'too'ruh), that's my husband's favourite.
We went last Monday and had very good tripe soup, "pastrama" (that's grilled mutton and traditional at harvest time) and the fish saramura. Oh, and the papanasi (deep fried doughnuts with sour cream and fruit preserves). I have a couple of pics but I don't know how to post them here.
Skilmann is delightful - and 2 blocks down from Acasa are Quaint, Bliss and Romanian Garden, 2 blocks up Aubergine and La Marjolaine. Come again.
Thanks all! A Romanian's word is good enough for me. Heading to Acasa this week. (That pork stew sounds great.)