It has been a strange trip watching the place that once housed the Koffee Klatsch go through a number of metamorphoses. From the Koffee Klatsch, a coffeeshop maverick around before the explosion of the latte; to the beloved Kulture Klatsch, its expansion into vegetarian dining where many a Boisean was introduced to alfalfa sprouts; into sit-down dining by nationally recognized local chef Lou Aaron, best known for his State Street joint Westside Drive In, the one thing the spot has always offered is comfort food. That spirit lives on in the eatery's new rendition as Casa del Sol, Mexican and American Dining.
On Casa del Sol's Facebook page, visitors are invited to try the Super Burrito ($8.99), a big burrito filled with either chicken, shredded or ground beef in bed with another burrito filled with rice and beans all wrapped up together--two different but equally savory sleepers snuggled together. Beans and rice held their form and the chicken was moist, two things that can make or break a burrito. Nothing suffered from being encased in sour cream and cheese and although a drizzle of burrito sauce snaked across the top, the dish as a whole could have used a hint more spice and heat. At $8.99, it's a good dish to share because of its size and heft.
Those tantalized by tacos often debate about who makes the best version de pescado. On the banner that hangs outside Casa del Sol's Ninth Street alley entrance, $2 a la carte tacos and Tecate are a campaign upon which they could run for top taco. The small fish taco is a delightful treat: a crispy, battered chunk of well-seasoned fish--nearly as thick as a cube of butter--lays on a soft, warm corn tortilla wrapped in an afghan of cabbage, tartar sauce, tomato cubes and cilantro. Served in a red-and-white paper tray (think French fries) with a plastic cup of verde sauce, it is reminiscent of street food, the kind of dish that might win you kudos among other taco testers when you turn them onto it. Fortunately they're cheap, because one is hardly enough.
The menu at Casa del Sol is not as simple as the dishes. At lunchtime, three menus offer options from south of the border, salads, apps, wraps, sandwiches, burgers and daily specials. And in an acknowledgment to the growing non-meat-eating sector--and maybe an unintentional nod to the space's earliest resident--is a respectable list of vegetarian dishes.
Though it now sports a cantina vibe, the spirit of all of those who have come before still lingers in Casa del Sol's dark, cozy space that is as welcome to a new generation of hip kids as it was to the hippies. If the walls of the BODO restaurant could talk, they'd probably say they'd seen a little of everything.
--Amy Atkins is constantly fishing for information on the best taco.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Casa del Sol.