By Kathy Chouteau
The Cazuelas Grill has a new home—and a new name to boot.
As the Standard reported in June, Cazuelas Grill, which serves Mexican fare in the Jalisco tradition, relocated from the Hilltop Mall to a new home at 14401 San Pablo Ave. The grill, which had been at its former location for two decades, needed to move out to make room for the mall’s planned transformation.
Although owner, Esmeralda Gutierrez, faced uncertain times, an opportunity soon arose to merge with an existing eatery called Velasquez Restaurant at the aforementioned San Pablo Avenue location. Today, Cazuelas Grill’s relocation is complete; it’s now operating under the name of Velasquez Restaurant, but is still serving up the same crowd-pleasers from its Hilltop Mall days.
The Rich Life took time over the weekend to visit the restaurant to see how the merger has gone off and to sample some of its Mexican specialties.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by its array of vibrant murals, which decorate its cozy dining space overlooking San Pablo Ave. and took note of a steady stream of customers filing in to enjoy the fare.
For lunch, we ordered for take-out the Flautas, five rolled fried taquitos filled with carnitas (our choice of meat); a Super Burrito, made with carnitas (our choice), rice, beans, pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese and sour cream; and a Taco Salad, a hard tortilla shell filled with whole beans, salad, beef (our choice), cheese and sour cream. On the side, we ordered some tortilla chips and guacamole.
Overall, all dishes featured very fresh ingredients and were served hot off the grill into our take-out containers without sitting around. The guacamole and chips were delicious, the Flautas very crunchy and flavorful and the Super Burrito packed with a delightful assortment of tasty ingredients that combined to form a burrito that truly lived up to its name. Overall, we felt that the Flautas and the Super Burrito were the real stand-outs of our lunch and we found that everything the restaurant packed for us to take home travelled well and tasted lovingly made.
On our next return to the restaurant, we’re looking forward to sampling the Caldo 7 Mares, a seafood soup, that from its picture on the menu, looks divine and also the Shrimp Super Burrito, similar to the burrito described earlier but with marinated shrimp as the star protein. The eatery’s breakfast selections also looked enticing for a menu try-out.
The Velasquez Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner at its location at 14401 San Pablo Ave. in San Pablo and is open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 510-680-5652 for more info.