Update: Victor Parra Gonzalez is no longer affiliated with Caza Azul
It’s no secret that downtown hot-spot Casa Azul is one of the best spots for tacos in our city. It’s also no secret that Victor Parra Gonzalez (no longer affiliated with Caza Azul) and Zina Lapi are two of the most talented, hard-working chefs that we have the pleasure of watching flourish in the WNY culinary community. Venture from the tacos, and you can be sure that Gonzalez and Lapi will send your taste buds into outer space. Their new-ish brunch is no exception.
Here’s the most recent menu:
Keeping with the secret theme: there are a handful of brunches in the city that I would rotate visiting if it weren’t for @buffalobrunch and having to try new places. Casa Azul is one of them. Hell, I’d do their Saturday brunch at least once a month if it weren’t for business or follower requests to try out new spots. Anyhow, no more secrets cause my hair is losing its volume.
When you think of brunch environment, you’ve seen it all. You’ve seen overdone, underdone, and just right. In my world, the only thing that REALLY matters is lighting, but Casa Azul delivers much more than that. Laid-back, friendly servers in a bright, airy room accompanied by lively music. You are in no rush and nobody is rushing you. It’s brunch time, baby.
The menu is small but well-executed, and if you can’t find something on it that interests you, well, it’s likely that nothing interests you. From savory items like brunch queso and braised short rib hash to sweet delights like souffle style pancake and churros, my first visit made me wish I had brought a group of ten so we could get one of everything and dive in. Alas, a few separate visits have proved one thing: there is no wrong choice.
As my good friend Syrie Roman mentioned in a recent Buffalo Spree brunch article covering Casa Azul, the charred pineapple mimosa is the star of the show in a list of freshly-prepared mimosas including watermelon mint and blackberry. Access to the regular drink menu allows options like a refreshing Paloma or margarita, or something more creative like the Blue Thai, a concoction composed of dark rum, coconut rum, house-made horchata, curaçao, lime, and an Oloroso Sherry finish. Yes, it was totally delicious. I’ve also enjoyed the alcohol-free horchata a time or two and it is wonderful.
Since I began going to Casa Azul’s brunch, I have had the pleasure of enjoying the brunch queso, churros, fish tacos, casa carnita burrito, huevos rancheros, chicken poblano hash, souffle style pancake, and a foie gras waffle. Balance is the name of the game at Casa Azul. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve eaten a dish out somewhere that boasts delicious components but has no balance. From the cheese to meat to potato ratio in the chicken poblano hash to the sugar crust on the churros, you’re not wishing for more or less of anything in each mouthful. Ratios are everything.
Casa changes their brunch menu a couple times a year, if not more, so a couple of the photos I’ve included are from visits in 2017, but I didn’t want to exclude them because they often serve up different specials that shouldn’t be overlooked. My advice? Go with at least 3 other friends (who like to share, also stop hanging out with the ones who don’t) and get a variety. Don’t pass up the brunch queso, or anything that comes in a skillet, nor the churros or souffle style pancake for dessert.
I’m not drooling, you’re drooling!
Location: 128 Genesee St, Buffalo, NY 14203
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30am – 10pm, Friday & Saturday 11:30am – 12am , brunch served Saturdays 11:30am – 3pm