Thursday, January 2, 2014

As I Said in Yesterday’s Blog,…

we are staying west of Phoenix in Goodyear, AZ, a town of almost 70,000. And I suspect that many of these residents are retirees from the Midwest.

What was my clue? A quick scan of recommended restaurants at tripadvisor.com showed three chains in the top five—Black Bear Diner (61 locations in eight states—most in the West), Cracker Barrel (an RVer’s favorite), and Wildflower Bread Company (an Arizona chain). But sitting at the Number Seven position is Caballero Grill (“knight” or “gentleman” in Spanish), an independent restaurant with an interesting history. (And why do I keep thinking about the movie The Gay Cabellero or the SCTV character Guy Cabellero?)

“With its huge, faux-rock porte-cochère entry and comfort-minded American-Southwestern menu, Caballero Grill could inhabit any big-box outdoor retail colony in the country. Suggesting a cross between a Macaroni Grill and an industrial brewpub, it’s the kind of place you’ll usually find lurking near Kohl’s or in the parking lot of a Residence Inn.
“Cosmetically, the former McGrath’s Fish House in Goodyear is everything I tend to avoid when seeking a memorable meal. I visited because I was curious about the independent partnership between owner Anthony Guerriero and his childhood friend, Chef Paul Fratella, and hoped to find a good eatery in this neck of the desert” (Carey Sweet at phoenixmag.com).

“In 1990, Paul Fratella and Anthony Guerriero became friends when they began working together in a restaurant adjacent to a local golf resort. Paul worked in the kitchen and Anthony worked on the floor.... Paul and Anthony dreamt of one day opening their own restaurant…. As the years went by the friends stayed in touch, but their lives led them down different paths…. Paul stayed in the restaurant business;…Anthony changed careers and worked his way up to assistant chief engineer in the refrigeration field. In 2008,…the two friends reconnected and once again discussed their goal of owning and operating a business together. In 2009, Paul and Anthony began planning in earnest on the concept that is today, Caballero Grill. In 2011 a location was discovered and remodeled…. Caballero Grill officially opened their doors on January 2, 2012” (caballerogrill.com).
Barbara Yost at azcentral.com wrote: “I've been disappointed before. A new restaurant comes to town with a lot of bells and whistles and promises of greatness, then falls short of expectations. Sure, the theme is all groovy, while the food achieves nothing but mediocrity. Caballero could have been such a place: Two old friends have a dream of running their own restaurant and their vision exceeds their abilities. Yada, yada, yada. But this time, the dream is playing out. Caballero is attractive, and the menu is equal to the standards set by the atmosphere….”
For some reason, this story reminds me of “Hey Lets Put On A Show” from the 1930’s movies (like Babes In Arms) where Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney save the (insert your favorite here) by putting on a show. “…but saving the unfortunate through musical theater is a surprisingly resilient Stock Plot…. This trope causes no end of frustration for those who work in theater, especially when they have to explain just how long it takes and how much it costs to ‘just put on a show’” (tvtropes.org). Maybe I am stretching here, but given the high failure rate for restaurants, the story of two friends “putting on a show” through a restaurant sounds easier than I am sure it really was. (Although the statistic of 90% of new restaurants failing in the first year has been debunked.)

The hostess station is located just inside the main doors. Off to the left is a large dining room. Off to the right is the bar area and that is where we were seated.

Immediately adjacent to the bar is the ceviche bar that receives high praise from on-line reviewers.


Equally high praise is given to the restaurant's happy hour and its interesting selection of specialty beers.

We both began with the soup of the day—white bean chicken tortilla.
This was a medium thick (just the way I like my soups) combination of corn, white beans, kidney beans, small pieces of chicken, and a touch of chopped tomato. It had a medium level of spice and tasted of a good amount of cumin—a spice that I didn’t used to like, but now have come to really enjoy.

We both agreed that the appetizers were the most interesting part of the menu and among the selections were the mole chicken wings, sweet chile garlic boneless wings, calamari with garlic ranch, empanadas, and Buffalo Jack and bleu cheese sticks. But remembering the wonderful street tacos that we had recently eaten at La Fortuna in Williams, CA, we decided to share three orders of Caballero’s street tacos. (Each came as an order of three.)

The fish tacos came with dressed with crema, cilantro, and cabbage that was more like a creamy slaw than the traditional plain undressed cabbage.
A small cup of fresh pico de gallo came on the side. I was particularly happy that the fish had been grilled rather than fried. I am not fond of fish tacos when the fish resembles a Mrs. Paul’s fish stick. (I am talking about you, Rubio’s.)

The pollo or chicken tacos were served with chopped onion and a mild salsa.
The chicken pieces were moist, but I thought that they could have been more highly seasoned. These tacos needed the extra shot from the lime wedges that accompanied each order.

The carne asada tacos were both of our favorites.
I have become very fond of these small bits of marinated and seared beef and may have to investigate how complicated this would be to do at home—even when an RV is your home. And these were garnished with chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro.

Chuck’s favorite was the carne asada followed by the pollo and then the fish. The asada was also my favorite, but the fish were a close second with the pollo a distant third. While these were no where as good as those at La Fortuna, they did satisfy a need and led to Caballero receiving a 4.0 Addie rating.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

3 comments:

eyad ammar said...


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eyad ammar said...



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eyad ammar said...



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شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة انها الاولى فى مكافحة ورش الحشرات بالمدينة المنورة رش البق رش الصراصير مكافحة النمل الابيض بالمدينة المنورة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة