Casa Vieja is neatly hidden away in a warzone of a strip mall on Shallowford Rd., about a block away from the back entrance to Asian Square. Not sure about the name of the strip mall, but there is a faded sign about “Grandpa’s Biscuits and Burgers”…
Maybe it’s enhanced by bleakness of the surroundings, but Casa Vieja is a surprisingly bright and inviting spot, made even better by a well executed Colombian menu.
There is no way you should go here without trying Bandeja Paisa – an entire day’s food quota on a single plate. Beans, rice, fried egg, fried plantains, chicharron (fried pork belly – w00t!), grilled steak, arepa (a white cornmeal patty – did I mention it’s fried?), and avocado. Wikipedia (which is never wrong…) claims there are about 1500-1800 calories in a singe dish.
Weekends seem to be the best time to visit, especially if you’re into soups and stews, as Saturday and Sunday are rife with special dishes (tripe soup, cream of chicken soup, etc.). One of today’s specials was Sancocho de Costilla ó Mixto (oxtail stew with vegetables). If you’re skittish about oxtails, you shouldn’t be – they’re one of the best parts of the cow. When stewed, they are much like short ribs or good pot roast in flavor and texture. The clear broth included potato, yucca and plantain. Rice, plantains and extra green bits (cilantro) are included on the side.
If you’re fluent in Spanish, it couldn’t hurt, but the wait staff was very friendly and helpful with the menu.