Our margaritas. Hard to stop at one . . . so we didn’t.

For a century, the West End has been the center of immigrant life in New Rochelle — first German, then Italian, now primarily Mexican and Latin American — so it’s not surprising that you can find some terrific food.  When it comes to decor, however, most of the restaurants in the area are pretty modest affairs: authentic, delicious, but rarely refined.

Making a bold play to add elegance to the mix is the brand new restaurant La Casona at 238 Washington Avenue.  I attended the Grand Opening this past week, then returned with my family and a few friends last night for dinner.  We had a terrific time.

As you can see, I had great difficulty finishing my fajitas.

Ice cold margaritas, guacamole made table-side, a heaping plate of nachos for the kids, and grilled calamari in a tomatillo sauce (the tomatillos even better than the calamari) started us off.  Then it was on to expertly-seasoned fajitas and fish tacos, while the kids tucked into burritos nearly the size of pillows.  And, of course, another round of margaritas.

A pretty selection of desserts.

We wrapped up with a dessert sampler – guava creme brulee, churros with nutella, flourless chocolate cake . . . and a killer coffee mixed with tequila and kahlua.  (Fortunately, I was not driving.)

The interior of La Casona is a soothing mix of earth tones, exposed wood, and wrought iron.  A perfect refuge on a warm night, and an impressive new addition to New Rochelle’s already excellent restaurant scene.  We’ll be back.