Su Casa | AspenTimes.com

Su Casa

Christina Patterson

So here it is, late summer in Aspen. Luckily there are still a few good solid warm weeks left, because it might take me that long to finish this burrito. It’s the Su Casa Veggie Combo-cheese chile relleno and a saut»ed veggie burrito that would not have looked out of place had it arrived in a wheelbarrow. Oh, and there’s the rice and beans on the side. And it costs a mere $12.50. And I don’t have a chance.

I look to my companion for support, because that’s what companions are for, right? No luck. He has his hands (and stomach) full trying to make a dent in the Seafood Combo. He’s got the fish taco in one hand, the ceviche tostada in the other, and an impressive mouthful of the shrimp enchilada. And the waiter just brought HIS side of rice and beans, so I’m on my own here.

What a horrible fate, huh? Best to just suck it up and have another margarita, I suppose.

Usually these restaurant profiles get summed up neatly in the last paragraph, but this one needs to be summed up early on. Now, to be precise. Here it is–Su Casa is an absolutely wonderful place to go for Mexican food, if you’re looking for something beyond your standard chips and salsa and lots of cheese. Don’t get me wrong, though. Chips and salsa at Su Casa are not to be taken lightly. The chips are fried on the premises using the freshest of oils, which is the reason that you will be saying, “Wait a minute. There’s something very good about these.” The salsa is homemade and the freshest of fresh, too, and is also likely to be the cause of some seemingly unnecessary outbursts of enthusiasm not usually associated with salsa.

OK, so it would seem that it isn’t as easy to sum up as I thought. Remind me to try again later.

If you go to Su Casa soon, you can take advantage of the cozy little patio. There is nothing quite like a margarita and some of the aforementioned starters in the late summer warmth on the Su Casa patio. It’s well heated in winter, of course, but there’s some healing to be had while the dusk is still shorts-worthy. I would highly recommend starting with the amazingly tasty grilled Cancun shrimp with avocado salsa ($9.50). This avocado salsa will cause serious reactions of bliss, so beware. We also started with the wonderful spinach and mushroom quesadilla for $8, but had we known how big the portions are, we probably would have…well, done exactly what we did, I suppose.

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“We like to do the traditional Mexican big portions,” said Mary Lynn Casper, who, along with her sons Eric and Chris, own not only Su Casa, but the neighboring establishments in that little place known as the Wheeler Square: Eric’s Bar, Aspen Billiards and The Cigar Bar. “It’s four different places with four different things going on.”

The selection at Su Casa is as big as their portions. You’ve got about 5 pages worth of choices to make. A few that leap out at me as I leaf through the menu novel are: Shrimp burrito–saut»ed jumbo shrimp (note: these folks KNOW how to saut» a shrimp) with veggies, tortilla wrapped with ranchero salsa and rice and beans, $13. Baja tacos–fresh fish or shrimp on soft corn tortillas topped with tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo and shredded cabbage and rice and beans for $12.50. Chimichanga–large flour tortilla stuffed with shredded chicken or beef, beans and cheese and then deep-fried and topped with ranchero salsa and served with, you guessed it, arroz y frijoles-$11.

The ingredients used at Su Casa are the freshest possible…there is the absolute bare minimum of can opening and no lard usage going on in the kitchen. And it shows (and tastes), too. Salsas are made fresh daily and the fruits used in the desserts are from down Paonia way, where peaches go to attain enlightenment.

Happy hour at Su Casa is from 5-7, featuring $2 Dos XX on tap, $2.50 margaritas and $5 quesadillas…pretty much the definition of happiness, eh?

What else? A few other menu items, perhaps? How about the Mexican Combo–saut»ed shrimp taco, super carnitas taco and a choice of grilled chicken or steak taco and served with tomatillo salsa on soft corn tortillas, $14. Camarones (shrimp) and vegetables saut»ed in hot and smoky chipotle salsa with rice and beans, $15. Chiles rellenos-Anaheim chilis stuffed with cheese, battered, fried, topped with ranchero salsa and melted cheese and rice and beans ($9 for one, $13 for 2.)

OK, let’s try that wrap-up thing again … it’s just so hard to say it all in one little sentence: Su Casa has at it’s disposal many combined years of Mexican cuisine, and it is obvious with every bite you take.

No, wait. How about: Su Casa is a delightful, locally owned restaurant that does justice to the type of food it serves. If more places in the world, and not only restaurants, brought the kind of quality, integrity and love to what they did, we’d be a few giant steps closer to paradise.

Try this one: Do yourself a big favor and at the very least have a margarita on the patio during what is left of summer. All right, one last try, I promise: All of the above.

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