Asado: The Corner’s newest addition

Checking out Café Caturra’s spunky replacement

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Asado serves classic Mexican dishes like their Fully Loaded Nachos. 

Hildy Maxwell | Cavalier Daily

Asado: The Wing & Taco Company has recently occupied the ever-changing storefront immediately to the right of Roots, replacing the former Café Caturra. In comparison to the more relaxed Café Caturra, Asado provides the lively, fun atmosphere and typical food that’s traditional of Corner evenings spent out with friends on a college budget. 

Full disclosure — I am a Mexican food snob —  and to me, finding a worthwhile Mexican place in Charlottesville has been a challenge —  El Jar and Armando’s just don’t cut it. So when I heard that Asado was opening, I knew I had to try it immediately. I have since been more times than I can count, for anything from appetizers with my girlfriends on a Thursday night to post-gameday dinner with my parents. And what I’ve gathered is that while Asado has its strengths, it doesn’t fit the bill for all situations. 

Atmosphere

Is this place ever not crowded? Every time I’ve gone, I have had to wait at least 20 minutes for a table. I usually take this as the sign of a good restaurant, and in my opinion, a busy restaurant tends to have a great atmosphere. The inside is loud and bustling, but once you’re seated, the tables are spread out enough that you can have a conversation without having to scream. If sports are your thing, Asado has plenty of TVs always playing various games and is a nice alternative to Boylan or Trin. 

Sometimes when it’s especially crowded, sitting at the bar is the move — you seem to get your food faster and the bartenders are a lot of fun. If you don’t mind squishing up with a few strangers, the bar is my favorite place to sit. But then again, I love to chat the ears off the poor soul who grabbed the stool next to me. 

Accessibility

Like all places on the Corner, parking for Asado is nonexistent  — only worth going if you are within walking distance. Asado’s hours are a huge plus, they are open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to anywhere between 10 p.m. early in the week to 2 a.m. on Thursday and Friday. Asado also serves their full menu until they close on Thursday and Friday, which is a big plus for those of us who crave a big cheesy quesadilla after a night out. Asado takes reservations for those days you’re feeling extra planned and when you want to save yourself time by not having to wait for a table during prime dinner hours. 

Affordability

I’m convinced the secret to being successful on the Corner is having cheap, decent food and — more importantly — cheap drinks. Asado fills both of these criteria. In terms of drinks, you can get a margarita for $5.50 every day, and it has changing drink specials depending on the day of the week. Food is also on the cheaper side, ranging anywhere from $4.95 for chips and queso to $12.50 for a dozen wings. 

Appeal

So here’s the deal. Asado’s great — for certain things. Queso? Get it, it’s rockin’. The chips are yummy — homemade, crisp, thin and salty. The pineapple teriyaki wings are also a delicious sweet and salty twist on a honey barbeque type wing. However, Asado drops the ball with some things, making me hesitate to recommend it for anything more than appetizers and drinks with friends. 

First of all, the service is really slow. Since they are a relatively new restaurant, management could still be working out a few kinks, but the food leaves quite a bit to be desired. I usually love taco salads, but was left disappointed with the one at Asado. Since it is one of the few main dishes besides the tacos, I expected something delicious, but the chicken was borderline chewy and the dressing was bland. 

The nachos, which you would think would be amazing, look fantastic — a huge mountain of cheesy chips, pico de gallo and chunks of meat. But the mountain doesn’t live up to its appearance. The meat that came on the steak nachos should really be called brisket, and the bottom of the nachos were a greasy mess, which sometimes is a good thing, but in this case the chips were soggy and unappealing. 

In fairness, it would be my choice for Mexican on the Corner, but still doesn’t come close to The Bebedero or Barbie’s. It is definitely not the vibe for parents, or anyone else who is not a college student. But in terms of the Corner restaurants, Asado distinguishes itself well from the rest of the staple spots like The Virginian or Boylan.   

If you’re looking for a decent, relatively inexpensive place to meet up with friends, look no further than Asado. Order the biggest platter of chips they offer with plenty of queso — yes, I know I’ve mentioned the queso a lot, but it’s truly my favorite thing on their menu so far and cheese just makes everything better. Despite some of its shortcomings, I believe Asado is well on its way to becoming one of the most popular places on the Corner.

Hildy Maxwell is a Food Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com. 

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