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Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014

Tapas in the Third Ward

Exceptional cuisine at Kasana

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Kasana is many things—a collective kitchen and caterer, a gallery, an event space and, most notably, a restaurant and bar. Owned by Chef Ana Docta, this Third Ward bistro is elegantly sophisticated and could be considered a place of great insight on how to create exceptional tapas and desserts from scratch with the freshest ingredients. And who can pass up the bottomless mimosa deal offered during lunchtime? Drawing from her family lineage and recipes passed down, Docta’s cuisine is rooted in Latin and European traditions, with accents of Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Portugal.

The variety of the menu is quite intriguing and ranges from shrimp, prawn, crab, cod, tuna, chicken, pork, beef, sausage, Cornish hen and lamb dishes to vegetarian friendly items such as baked almonds, sautéed Brussels sprouts, baked leeks, hearts of palm, warm olives and homemade pizza with goat cheese. One item from the cold tapas section to note is the Ceviche de Camaron ($10), which includes four succulent shrimp served with a tasty cilantro-mango-pineapple mixture and homemade gluten-free crackers.

If you’re looking for something warm, give the Pao de Queijo ($8) a try, a tasty gluten-free dish of manchego cheese bread balls served with a wonderful blueberry-champagne sauce. The addition of the lightly sweet sauce reminds us that cheese bread can really be satisfying and light—definitely a front runner compared to the typically greasy, overly salted cheesy bread in some establishments. Another delicious dish that is large enough to serve as a single meal or to share is the Chicken Fricassee ($13), made with juicy cubed chicken breast sautéed with onions, crimini mushrooms and a smooth cream cheese sauce on a bed of the most perfectly cooked brown and wild rice flavored with chicken broth, cumin, all spice and nutmeg. The flavors of this dish are subtle and evolve on the pallet beautifully with each bite.

Overall, the menu has an expansive amount of gluten-free items, a good amount of vegetarian plates and a few vegan options, covering a fun gamut of foods that the latter two don’t necessarily get to enjoy frequently.

And though it would be deliciously satisfying to devour as many of Kasana’s delectable tapas as a stomach can hold, make sure you save room for Docta’s lovely desserts. First off, the organic homemade whipped cream is made with heavy cream and agave and is often topped with fragrant lavender buds. This is especially nice on top of El Flan ($5), an egg custard flan with a unique twist—instead of caramel underneath the thick custard, raw sugar-caramel-almond pieces are crumbled on top of the dish, creating an excellent texture contrast while also making the dessert easier to eat (no digging down to get caramel with each bite). Looking for a lighter choice? Then maybe you’d appreciate the Alfajores with Espresso ($5), traditional Argentinean soft cookies sandwiching a chocolate ganache with either a pistachio or coconut crust, served with espresso or the establishment’s strong coffee. The pistachio cookie is nutty, wonderfully textured and goes well with the lavender bud whipped cream; the coconut is tasty as well though less rich than the pistachio. Either way, they are the perfect amount of sweet and are great for dipping in the coffee.

With a welcoming white-and-teal-splashed interior, Kasana is both a relaxing place for lunch or dinner with friends and family, and a romantic, stylish setting for date night. At the bar, there is a nice selection of white, red and sparkling wines; cocktails of many exciting flavors; a good amount of bottled beers; and one rotational beer on draft. Coffees, teas, soda products and lemonade, as well as organic sparkling juices when available, are offered. Hookah can be brought to your table for $20 as well. Make sure you stop in at some point to support Kasana and its mission of bringing organic and wild-caught, non-GMO, hormone- and antibiotic-free ingredients to our food-loving city. Open Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday for brunch, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

Kasana

241 N. Broadway (lower level)

414-224-6158

$$

kasana-mke.com

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