For $15, today’s Groupon gets you $30 worth of southwestern flavors and refreshing sips at Corazon at Castle Hill, a completely revamped version of Castle Hill Café. Breathe in the delicious fresh air emanating from chef Michael Taddeo’s inspired, classic southwestern dishes in a distinctly Mexican dining room.
The recipes at Corazon at Castle Hill ooze with love, from the kitchen to the taste buds. Prepare your hungry stomach with a basket of chips and salsa, or warm things up with the perfectly spiced beef picadillo empanadas (with coconut cilantro sauce, $4.95). Follow up the round of botanas (small-plate items) with any selection from the robust enchiladas department, including vegetable ($12.95), shrimp ($15.95), and roasted chicken ($14.95).
The dinner menu is beautifully rounded out by the pasta Guanajuato (loaded with grilled veggies, red chile puree, smoked chicken, and pecan pesto, $14.95) and the pork chop with Oaxacan mole (10–12-ounce cut in a traditional mole sauce accompanied by sweet corn pudding, $16.95).
For those who can still look a piece of sweet dessert in the sugary eye, there’s the tempting Kahlua and cinnamon crème brûlée and the apple-cherry rustic tart ($4.95 each).
Flirt with flavor and dust off your high school Spanish vocabulary for a sure-fire hunger-annihilator. This independently owned Austin favorite has 22 years of experience when it comes to overflowing your corazon with savory desire.
Austin Restaurant Guide/Fearless Critic evaluates the upgrade from Castle Hill Café by saying that “Any cynicism is quickly subdued upon entry, though, by a warm embrace of oranges, yellows, and deep reds.” It goes on to conclude that “Corazon continues to do what Castle Hill Café did: charm and excite with excellent food at very reasonable prices in a lovely, evocative setting.”
Food critic Rob Balon shares such sentiments: “Corazon at Castle Hill should definitely be back on your radar. It should also be on sonar and any other location devices available!”
Locating Devices You Can Use
Food critic Rob Balon advises eaters to put Corazon on their radar through “sonar and any other location devices available!” If your GPS is broken, try these other locating devices:
- divining rod
- scent-finding army of rats
- old map in which unexplored areas are represented by sea monsters
- local man who knows area, fence-height regulations like back of hand
- magical amulet whose use guarantees success and sinister repercussions
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Corazon at Castle Hill
In 2002, when asked about his role as sous-chef at the wildly successful Castle Hill Cafe, Michael Taddeo told the Austin Chronicle, “We have lots of fun doing what we do”. Yet, following executive chef David Dailey’s retirement, Caste Hill’s co-owner, Cathe Dailey, decided to temporarily close the café’s doors and focus on a rebirth of sorts, refurbishing everything from the eatery’s menu and 110-year-old home to its very name.
Today, Chef Taddeo has taken the reins in the kitchen at the resurrected café—Corazon at Castle Hill—where he and much of the old staff continue to churn out upscale Mexican cuisine tweaked with a few changes. Today’s menu adapts to the seasons, with the chef using products that are fresh and locally available; when the Austin Chronicle's Mick Vann visited during the winter months, he sampled warm comforting plates of flautas carnitas and arrachera beef, calling them a “huge winner” and “wonderful.” Yet, in the summer, the chef’s menu consists of lighter tastes, including shrimp enchiladas, potato-corn sope, and pork tenderloin roasted over a boy scout’s campfire.
Red-clothed tables set with white napkins and small vases of fresh flowers give diners a visual clue to the eatery’s elegant-yet-comfortable vibe. Customers’ eyes also wander to the dining room’s vibrant orange walls, which house Cathe’s personal touches including Mexican folk art culled from her personal collection.