Cachapa filled with beef

Restaurant Pa’r Excellence (Casa de Luna Restaurant & Bar)

Casa de Luna Restaurant & Bar, 800 Chestnut Ave, Trenton, NJ
M, W, Th, F, 6AM - 2AM; Sa-Su, 7AM - 2AM; Closed Tu
(609) 394-1456   Website    Google Maps

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Ever heard of an Arepa? Or a Cachapa? Neither had I. But Trenton’s only Venezuelan restaurant serves up these national specialties, along with a superb Latino-fusion menu. Casa de Luna is a wonderful addition to Chambersburg’s flourishing Latino restaurant scene, serving up scrumptious items you’ll find nowhere else in town.  The restaurant is also a full bar (which opens 6 PM – 2 AM) and occupies the space which Chambersburg old-timers will remember as Tattoni’s.  Note the bar-scene is pretty noisy, so if you’re looking for a quiet meal consider eating before 6, or take-out afterwards.

Reina Pepiada
Reina Pepiada Arepa

Think of an Arepa as a Venezuelan bagel. Well, sort of. As a bagel is to a slice of white bread, an arepa is to a tortilla. It’s made from a special masa flour (limed-corn-meal, and inherently gluten free), formed into a sandwich roll that is dense and chewy. For roughly $5 (June 2017 prices) you can order an arepa with a huge range of fillings.

  • Reina Pepiada – a traditional chunky chicken salad made with avocado and mayonnaise. Add some of the “house dressing” a garlicky green goddess sauce. Lovely.
  • Pelua – shredded beef (similar to a Cuban Ropa Vieja) and cheese filling
  • Pernil – roast pork
  • Perico – scrambled eggs with onions and tomatos (especially good for breakfast)
    Pernil filled Arepa
    Pernil (roast pork) filled Arepa

Want to try something else as well?  Check out the Cachapa (header image), a thick, sweet-corn pancake stuffed with your choice of fillings.  Incredible!

Casa de Luna has a lot going for it besides good food.  First, it’s open early and late.  The breakfasts are superb starting at (allegedly) 6 AM.  It’s open late, by virtue of the bar that’s open to 2 AM.  I’ve never been there that late, but I’m told the kitchen is open past 1 AM.  There’s also a take-out window on the side (Morris Ave), where you can get Arepa’s to go until well past midnight.

Roast chicken lunch special

Weekdays during the week they also offer lunch specials.  Platters with lunch-sized portions that vary day by day.  The photo shows a superbly grilled chicken lunch special: rice, beans, friend plantains, and even a soft drink included in the $7 price.

Is everything good here?  I’m not sure.  To date I’ve eaten here 5 times, focusing on Arepas and Chachapas, and loved everything.  It’s quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in a town filled with great Latino food.

 

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