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.
“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).
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.
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.
The pollo or chicken tacos were served with chopped onion and a mild salsa.
The carne asada tacos were both of our favorites.
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.