Best Cuban Restaurant - 1999
In his work "A Partial Explanation," poet Charles Simic expounds on his desire "to eavesdrop/on the conversation/of cooks." We'd sure love to hear what the chef's talking about in Casa Grande's kitchen. "Give that customer more of the ropa vieja," we can imagine him instructing his line cooks. "He could use some meat on his bones. Pile some more black beans on top of that buttered rice for the girl out there. She's too skinny. And grill her mother an extra-big palomilla. A woman her age could use the iron." OK, so maybe we're rationalizing. Maybe we're finding an excuse -- or a partial explanation -- for eating every speck of the gigantic empanadas and tamales and following up with the flan for dessert. Everyone needs something to justify gluttony, and to be honest, the well-prepared fare at Casa Grande is justification enough.