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Re: Casa Luna Mexican Grille Somerville NJ

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Spaetzle75 May 24, 2012 05:26 PM

My wife and I had a great meal at Casa Luna. Started off with the standard chips and salsa but salsa was quite nice. The prices are very affordable. Everything that we ate was delicous. Byob as an added bonus. It is hard to find good Mexican around this area. This restaurant really hit the spot.

  1. k
    kgiamella Aug 18, 2012 11:40 AM

    We ate here last night! IT WAS OUTSTANDING! Best food I've eaten out all year, and four of us ate for $40. I'm going back tonight - the shrimp tacos with cilantro were out of this world!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kgiamella
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      Forklaw Oct 23, 2012 11:16 PM

      Tried Casa Luna for the first time and pleased to report that the meal was as good as all the favorable reviews above. Started with a bowl of chicken tortilla soup (from the specials board) which was a flavorful (but not spicy), tomatoey chicken broth that tasted freshly made, with good size bits of chicken and decorated with a swirl of sour cream and a few strips tortillas. Followed the soup with shrimp tacos which I thought were outstanding. Very simply prepared - - two soft tacos with lightly seasoned grilled shrimp and shredded cabbage. Nothing more in the taco shells, but the consistency and flavor of the shredded cabbage, the perfectly prepared shrimp, and the soft shell taco worked well together for a very light but delicious combination. (Shrimp were not fried, as one reviewer above wrote, so either I had a different dish or they changed the preparation.) Tacos were served with black beans and rice which were well prepared, though nothing extraordinary. Thus far my impression is that the food is less spicy, less heavily laden in sauces, and overall lighter than many other Mexican retaurants in the area. I don't know whether this difference stems from particular regional styles of cooking or perhaps it is simply this chef's style. While this one small meal is not enough to review the total restaurant, which has a fairly sizeable menu, it certainly is enough for me to want to return to try other items soon.

      The dining area is fairly large, clean and very casual. I am a bit concerned about whether they can fill so many tables at this location - - they are a long block off Main Street in Somerville, if you were not specifically looking for this restaurant (or Shumi) it's very unlikely you'd venture down this street to find a place to eat, and other restaurants that have tried this spot did not make it. However, they are right across from one side of the shopping center being constructed in downtown Somerville (perpetually under construction but one day will be completed) and that may bring it some more visibility if/when that side of the shopping center is opened.

    2. m
      madgreek99 Jun 9, 2012 06:51 PM

      We took a ride to Somerville tonight to try Casa Luna. I thought it was just OK.

      We liked the chips, but not the salsa. It seems to have come out of a jar and had the consistency of ketchup. The shrimp tacos were quite tasty, but the shrimp was fried and I would have preferred them to be grilled. There was a tasy sauce and nice fresh cabbage slaw. I did think the serving size was a bit skimpy. It came with a cilantro rice which I found to be quite nice and black beans which I enjoyed.

      My companion ate the pork tacos. The pork had a little bit of a funky taste and the tacos were pretty skimpy. They came with the same rice and beans.

      I don't know a lot about the Mexican food in Somerville, so maybe this is a good addition to the area, however, there are certainly many better places to dine in Somerville and for Mexican, I find Viva Mexico in Flemington to be much better and at a similar price point.

      In general, I find the Mexican restaurants in Flemington and Lambertville to be far superior to this one and because of my proximity to Flemington, I probably won't return to Casa Luna.

      1. t
        ThanksVille Jun 2, 2012 04:44 PM

        Casa Luna IS a nice addition to Somerville's dining scene. Easy to find one block south of Main St.....easy parking, nice bright cheerful interior except for a sagging black painted ceiling, nice furnishings, comfortable space and a genuinely friendly greeting with comparably good service the rest of our dinner. It is BYOB and they cheerfully opened our beers, put the remainder on ice, brought nice pilsner type glasses along with a basket of fresh home fried and salted chips plus a rich salsa all within our first 5 minutes.....did I mention their great attention to service? We ordered the guacamole for 2 made table side which we were encouraged to sample allowing for a touch more cilantro and more lime juice. Avocados were RIPE, not green tasting and with more chips we played catch up after long work week and were never rushed to order anything more. A cold beer later we did order, both opting for different combination platters to maximize our sampling ability and the result was very very good on most items, outstanding on their Texas BBQ ribs and their tomatillo chicken. The only mediocre dishes were a surprisingly dry chorizo in soft corn tortilla and some very bland, unflavored and unsalted black beans....both of which are fixable mistakes. The bill for our lovely and very satisfying dinner was $35. Which is what we would have spent atone of the local diners or at Chimney Rock Inn or Applebees. Casa Luna is.worth a return trip soon and again after that. Up until now we had been trekking to Totuga's Mexican Village in Princeton or place in Warren but we don't see the need for those destinations anymore as long as Casa Luna stays around.

        8 Replies
        1. re: ThanksVille
          s
          Spaetzle75 Jun 2, 2012 05:31 PM

          i thought the beans were good. I liked my chorizo taco. Did you have the Oaxacan platter? My only criticism of the guac was that it could have used some salt.

          1. re: Spaetzle75
            t
            ThanksVille Jun 2, 2012 09:18 PM

            My wife ordered the Oaxaca combo while I tried their tex-Mex combo on the recommendation of our server. Both were good choices allowing us to share but I had to agree that the chorizo taco?/soft corn tortilla was pretty dry and the black beans were were bland and under seasoned at least to our taste. We shop at the Twin Cities market in Finderne which caters to a central American emigre population and their butcher staff make between four and six different versions of chorizo that we grill and or smoke....depending on the pork grind and fat content some take to the heat and retain moisture better than others. As lapsed vegetarians we have been making a variety of black bean dishes for years and perhaps have come to expect well salted cooking stock along with liberal use of cumin, chilis and cilantro to counter their inherent taste of the earth, sometimes even a touch of lime for a high pitch acid flavor tweak. CL's just didn't hit those flavor profiles.

            1. re: ThanksVille
              s
              Spaetzle75 Jun 3, 2012 05:02 AM

              Pretty sure that is how Mexican chorizo cooks up. I have eaten/cooked my share of beans. Still think they were good but not awesome. You ever been to La Isla in Hoboken? They have some awesome black beans.

              1. re: Spaetzle75
                t
                ThanksVille Jun 3, 2012 01:51 PM

                We have never actually been in Hoboken. Worth a trip from central jersey?
                Actually smoking some d'artagan's chorizo tonight on the BGE that had been languishing in the freezer since New Years. Curious to see if I can keep it moist before adding goya's mojo that I use as a finishing sauce. Smoker is going at 250 with some cherry wood chunks. I figure 90 minutes tops.

                1. re: ThanksVille
                  JustJake Jun 4, 2012 11:51 AM

                  My standby remains Joyce's Taquiera on Main St. in Bound Brook. Nothing fancy - it's the equivalent of one of our luncheonettes, which also happens to serve dinner, to a decidedly Spanish clientele in the evenings, but that's never stopped me from enjoying 'real' Mexican food should I work late.

                  No English is spoken here (for the most part).

                  1. re: JustJake
                    s
                    Spaetzle75 Jun 4, 2012 12:51 PM

                    Ok nice sounds good. There is a grocery store on Main st Somerville that is the same way.

                  2. re: ThanksVille
                    s
                    Spaetzle75 Jun 4, 2012 12:49 PM

                    whole foods has a good fresh chorizo. BGE? Smoked some sausage on Memorial day. Used cherry too. Yes it is totally worth the trip. You will be suprised.

              2. re: Spaetzle75
                t
                ThanksVille Jun 17, 2012 04:51 PM

                As much as we look forward to a return visit to Casa Luna we just had a revelation black bean dining experience just one block to the north at Martino's Cuban Restaurant. Wonderful wet/soupy style with garlic, cumin, chili, cinnamon (??) flavors good enough to ask for a second bowl to take home. Realize Martino's is a completely different style of preparation than what we had at Casa Luna but perhaps worth checking them out.

            2. ambrose Jun 1, 2012 05:39 PM

              I completely agree with you regarding how hard it is to find good Mexican in this area. Have you any other favorites in Hunterdon or Somerset counties? Have you tried El Segundo in Clinton? It's been on my go to list for quite a while.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ambrose
                s
                Spaetzle75 Jun 1, 2012 06:10 PM

                All time favorite for jersey is Jose's Mexican Cantina in Warren. Awesome Salsa Verde, you have to ask for it.
                There is one in Frenchtown that was pretty good. I cannot remember the name or if it is still open. I will get back to you on that. I have heard there is a good one in lambertville, again i do not know the name. There is Casa Maya in High Bridge and Meyersville as well. Think that is the name.

                No, I will add to my list El Segundo.

                1. re: Spaetzle75
                  ambrose Jun 13, 2012 07:48 AM

                  I went to El Segundo for lunch last week and my overall experience was positive. First, however, I must mention that the people who run this place used to have the Frenchtown restaurant you referred to. They apparently got tired of the flood issues in Frenchtown and moved to Clinton (they're at the top of a hill so should not be affected by any flooding in Clinton). The new place is their second restaurant, hence 'El Segundo'. The Frenchtown restaurant is still there and operates under the old name but of course the owners are new. No idea what it is like.

                  El Segundo is very plainly decorated and, to be honest, does not look welcoming. They don't seem to have done much with the interior which, as you know, use to house Rise Bakery. I had tacos for my lunch and they were very good, though a little salty to my taste (I am very sensitive to the taste of salt). Everything appeared to be very fresh and the salsa that appeared before lunch was very good. Service was fine - nothing special - but I have been told by friends that service can slow appreciably when the place is busy. I've also been told that noise can be a big problem on a busy Friday or Saturday night. That is certainly not a problem, however, during a weekday lunch!

                  I would definitely go back to El Segundo for lunch but would have dinner only on a week night. I will have to go to Casa Luna for a comparative study!

              2. t
                ThanksVille May 31, 2012 06:22 PM

                Is this the place at the corner with Veteran's Drive near Shumi the hidden sushi gem of Somerville?
                Last time we were at Shumi the former "Mexican" place was very very closed. We'd love to try it in hopes it could be a really nice addition to the Somerville dining scene.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ThanksVille
                  s
                  Spaetzle75 Jun 1, 2012 05:30 PM

                  yes exactly and to get off topic. I love Shumi. Have been going there forever.

                2. b
                  bropaul May 29, 2012 02:45 PM

                  Thanks for the tip - always on the lookout for good Mexican in the area.

                  1. t
                    ThanksVille May 29, 2012 02:42 AM

                    Where in Somerville?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ThanksVille
                      s
                      Spaetzle75 May 29, 2012 05:45 AM

                      On Doughty, the end near the shoprite. It used to be another Costa Rican restaurant posing as an mexican resto

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