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La Casa Latina, Westbury: First bites

Fish taco trio at La Casa Latina, Westbury

Fish taco trio at La Casa Latina, Westbury Credit: Newsday Photo/Joan Reminick

Its generic-sounding name aside, La Casa Latina comes across as a study in modern mojo. The new Westbury spot serves a repertoire of lively Latin dishes (from El Salvador, Argentina, Peru and more) brought to tables on wheeled carts. This method of transport may seem a throwback to another era, but here it somehow seems contemporary.

Both executive chef-owner Roberto Herrera (also head chef at Bryant & Cooper Steakhouse in Roslyn) and chef de cuisine Wilfredo Cardoza hail from El Salvador. Their culinary expertise crosses many borders, though.

A recent dinner began with a trio of soft corn fish tacos ($6.95), house-made soft corn tortillas enfolding fried tilapia and chipotle salsa topped with micro greens, the fillings bright in flavor and appearance, lined up jauntily in a metal holder. Another opener,  El Salvadoran pupusas (stuffed corn cakes, $5.95) featured pork, cheese and bean fillings, all deeply satisfying.

A real surprise was the “parillada Argentina" ($19.95) — a barbecue platter featuring succulent grilled short rib, skirt steak, sweetbread, black sausage, mild sausage and thin sausage. Not a dry or boring piece of meat was on that plate. What would have made the dish better, though, would have been an accompanying vegetable — or even rice and beans. That duo came gratis with my roasted half semi-boneless chicken. Which, in case you’re wondering, was spice-crusted, juicy, delicious.

Sangria alert: The place makes a killer red wine version dotted with frozen blueberries, $18 for a big pitcher.

La Casa Latina is at 611 Old Country Rd., Westbury; 516-280-7795

Above: Fish taco trio at La Casa Latina

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