Walking in, Uma Casa is nicely lit, warm and cozy in many ways.
(Complimentary) Housemade Chips & Tomato Dip:
The Housemade Potato Chips were nice and crispy, but what really made them sing was the Moroccan Chili, Tomato and Bell Pepper Dip. Lightly spicy, but savory, sweet and so addictive we couldn’t stop eating them.
We originally wanted to order some Bacalhau (Salt Cod) dishes based on @robert’s great review, but unfortunately they were sold out of Bacalhau on our visit(!).
Polvo Dourado (Cornmeal Crusted Octopus, Roasted Pepper Emulsion, Black Eye Peas, Watercress Salad):
Thankfully their Polvo Dourado was delicious and a great starter! The Cornmeal Crust gave the Octopus a slight crispiness, but the actual Octopus inside was perfectly cooked, tender, and the Roasted Red Pepper Emulsion complemented each bite nicely, along with a bit of the bright, Spring-like Watercress.
Torresmos Agridoce (Crispy Pork Riblets, Spicy Passion Fruit Glaze, Cabbage-Herb Slaw):
The Torresmos Agridoce was another surprise: Crispy Pork Riblets resulted in a slightly crunchy exterior to firm, meaty Pork Riblets, but the Spicy Passion Fruit Sauce made it like a delicious Portuguese take on “Sweet & Sour Pork” in a way. But more focused and the Passion Fruit provided a more natural, interesting take on sweet notes, a touch of piquant and fruity.
Sardinhas Grelhadas (Grilled Sardines, Onions, Peppers, Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Egg, Grilled Levain):
@ipsedixit was right! This Sardinhas Grelhadas (Grilled Sardine) dish was a nice highlight: Intensely briny (in a good way), nice charred silver skin on the exterior, delicious, naturally oily, pungent Sardine on the inside.
Note: Sardines here are not deboned, so if you don’t like to fuss with fish bones (and there are a lot), it might be better to try other dishes.
Peixe do Dia (Pan Roasted Halibut, Roasted Sweet Potato, Sautéed Greens, “Molho Cru”):
Recommended heartily by our server, their Peixe do Dia (Pan Roasted Halibut) turned out to be nicely cooked: A perfect medium-rare, moist, tender, delicate Halibut with a nice pan-seared upper crust. The Seasonal Greens were fine, but we were hoping for a bit more flavor infusion into the Halibut itself (rather than accompaniments on the side).
Port - Quinta do Crasto Colheita 1997:
I’m not an expert on Port by any means, but our server recommended this Quinta do Crasto Colheita '97 with our Dessert. Intense, sweet (but not overly sweet), smooth and round, this was a nice sipper by itself.
They didn’t have any Rice Pudding on this visit @ipsedixit, but we also just had to order this for comparison’s sake:
Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Egg Custard Tart):
Probably a testament to growing up in culturally diverse part of America (Los Angeles), I ended up being exposed to the Hong Kong / Macau version of an Egg Tart long before running across the OG Portuguese version. But finally, we were in an actual Portuguese restaurant, serving freshly made from scratch traditional Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts! We couldn’t wait!
First, this arrives piping hot, with a beautiful crisped outer pastry crust.
Taking a bite: The Egg Custard center is far more sweet than any Hong Kong / Macau / Chinese-version of a Portuguese Egg Tart that we’ve ever had. It was just on the border of being saccharine, but thankfully didn’t go over.
How sweet was it? After taking a bite and then sipping some of the Port, it made the Port taste muted and almost tart in comparison(!).
We loved the fresh-baked nature, the crisped outer shell, the piping hot, almost liquid custard center, but maybe it’s because we’re used to eating the versions around Los Angeles, but it was too sweet and more Vanilla and Sugar than the eggy, less sweet, but more enjoyable versions like at Jim’s Bakery.
I’m really glad to have tried the OG Portuguese Egg Tart, but somehow we prefer the Hong Kong / Macau interpretations more. I’ll leave it up to our Egg Tart experts to do a better comparison (@ipsedixit @J_L @PorkyBelly @attran99 @TheCookie @paranoidgarliclover @beefnoguy @Ns1 @JeetKuneBao and others).
Uma Casa was a pleasant dining exploration into Portuguese cuisine. We’d gladly return to enjoy more of their Polvo Dourado (Cornmeal Crusted Octopus) and Sardinhas Grelhadas (Grilled Sardines) among other things. And hopefully we’ll be able to try their Pasteis de Bacalhau (Salt Cod Fritters) or Bacalhau Gomes de Sa (Baked Salt Cod Casserole, Potatoes, Caramelized Onions) next time, when it’s not sold out.
1550 Church St.
San Francisco, CA 94131
Tel: (415) 829-2264