A New Latin Delight

21 Restaurant

15-11 College Point Blvd., College Point
(718) 661-2275
Hours: Tues-Wed: 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Thurs: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Fri-Sat: 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., Sun: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Credit Card: Yes, all major
Parking: Street parking
Delivery: No, only takeout

Cask15 has not even been open for two months and it has already generated a lot of buzz for its unique Latin-fusion dishes. Being a big fan of Latin-style dishes, my date and I decided to see what the hype was about.

When we walked in, the first thing we noticed was the cool and relaxed vibe. The dimly-lit cozy environment was perfect for an intimate date and set the mood for an enjoyable meal.

Before we had a chance to order our food, we were treated to a variety of specialty mojitos. Although I am not a fan of rum, the passion fruit and mango mojitos I tried were absolutely delicious. The alcohol did not overwhelm the fruity taste and much to my surprise, the drinks were served with real sugarcanes – a rare find nowadays.

Already excited by our drinks, we decided to try a few of Cask15’s tapas, or appetizers. Our pleasant server, Marti, made a few recommendations that did not disappoint. First on our list was the croquetas de mariscos, a unique twist on the popular shrimp croquet. The croquetas de mariscos, made with shrimp, bacalao, crab and Idaho potato was served with a garlic sauce and spicy sauce – both of which complemented the fish in different ways.

Our server also suggested the chimi sliders, a popular dish made with ground meat, onions, shaved cabbage and “Cask special sauce.” I’ve had many sliders in my day, but I’ve never had sliders like these. The meat tasted fresh and the shaved cabbage really brought the sliders together. Although great on its own, Cask’s special sauce gave them an extra zingy taste, coming together beautifully.

My date, a big fan of seafood, thought he would try Cask’s fresh mussels, made with chorizo, saffron la mancha and tomatoes. Watching him take his first bite, I knew he fell in love. He praised Cask’s unique spin on the dish, which included sprinkling grounded up Spanish sausage, chorizo, on top. He described the tapa as a “flavorful combination of sausage and mussel.”

Our server brought over one more appetizer – the cubanitos Cuban-style sliders made with citrus marinated pork, dry-cured Spanish ham, Swiss cheese, homemade pickles and spicy brown mustard. This was hands down my favorite appetizer. The Cuban take on the original dish was absolutely delicious and made to perfection.

Though it seemed as though we would not have any room in our stomachs for more food, we knew we could not leave before sampling some entrees. My date went with the ropa vieja, a Cuban-style slow cooked flank steak served with onions and peppers and I went with the grilled churrasco, a marinated Angus beef skirt steak served with chimichurri sauce.  The fairly-priced entrees were cooked to perfection and with both dishes under $25, the entrees were a steal. The meats tasted fresher and juicier than dinners I’ve had at five-star restaurants.

-Natalia Kozikowska