Lunch at Saipan's ‘secret’ Casa
(Photos by Patrick Horton)
JUST behind the Kristo Rai church in Garapan is a house which is actually a restaurant that serves a wide variety of mouthwatering Japanese, Italian and other international dishes.
Casa Urashima is not a new destination for me or for some of my friends. We have frequented it for its addictive coffee, ambiance and proximity to the office, but it recently announced its lunch menu and it was something I was not going to miss.
Becky, the cheerful food staffer, brought us a board on which the lunch menu of the day was written. I decided to try the mahi-mahi fish n’ sweet potato chips with three different dips while my buddy chose the grilled chicken marsala with greens.
We were served green salads neatly arranged on shallow rectangular dishes followed shortly by chicken tortilla soup, a hot looking concoction topped with tortilla and bits of green. The soup appeared too spicy but it wasn’t — it was just right for someone whose tolerance for spices is not that high.
My order came next. Hidden inside fluffy yet crisply fried thin breading were the mahi-mahi slices, artistically served. Yet another surprise! The mahi-mahi had sweet, mildly pronounced flavors that were further enhanced when dipped into white sauce, soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce. The mahi-mahi was served with strips of fried locally produced sweet potatoes, lemon and cucumber slices.
My buddy’s order was served a few minutes later — perfectly grilled chicken slices stewing in their juices and emanating a glorious smell. Small slices of mushrooms bordered the chicken strips on one side while sweet potato chips, soft corn pudding and greens were on the other side of the plate.
For a couple of not-so-hungry diners, we cleaned up our plates pretty fast, savoring the last morsels until our plates were cleared and dessert was served.
Artistically arranged on a white platter was lychee jelly with citrus slices and a dab of cream cheese which we devoured in world record time. I capped my lunch with a cup of Casa Urashima’s house coffee while my companion went for a cup of tea.
You get more for your $14 lunch menu at Casa Urashima. It also serves steak quesadilla, mango slaw and sweet potato chips, and Orzo Rissotto with smoked pork, sweet peas and tomatoes.
Casa Urashima owner Osamu Taniguchi says they vary the lunch menu from time to time to give people more reasons to come back.
Chef Paul Matthews, who hails from Colorado, is behind the delectable lunches at Casa Urashima.
Casa Urashima is not your ordinary restaurant with rows and rows of tables for customers. Instead, it has several small dining rooms that offer a cozy ambiance and privacy to diners. But you can also eat out on the porch if you want to dine outdoors.
Reservation is recommended as Casa Urashima has limited seating. Just drive up Rosa Street beside Kristo Rai Church and it is the first house you will see on your right. Casa Urashima opens for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Major credit cards are accepted. For reservations, call 233-3303 or visit Casa Urashima in Garapan.
First published at the Marianas Variety