Arizona’s Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is one of the largest and most mysterious prehistoric structures ever built in North America and serves as the most impressive remnant left by the Hohokam (those who are gone) culture. In many ways, Albuquerque’s Casa Grande restaurant may be a remnant, too–albeit, a remnant of restaurants which prepare unadulterated New Mexican food made to order with the realization that tourists really might want to try authentically piquant and seasoned food as the locals would prepare it.
More than most restaurants in Albuquerque, particularly those in the Old Town area, Casa Grande does prepare meals that taste as if your own abuela might have made them. It doesn’t insult tourists by serving them the Anglciized concoctions proffered at the chains of pseudo Mexican restaurants in their own cities.
A hearty bowl of green chile, for example, maintains the olfactory arousing aroma of chile roasted on a comal. Ameliorated with well seasoned hamburger, the green chile is among the city’s very best. It’s exceptional on its own or on enchiladas.
You certainly want all your olfactory receptors working optimally when you bite into the beef burrito or beef enchiladas with red chile. It’s a chile you can respect–not hot enough to singe your tongue, but perfectly piquant so that you can also enjoy the beef. Alas, sometimes that chile’s great taste is detracted from because of extraneous chile seeds.
Speaking of beef, make sure to order the well seasoned tacos with your meal as they are also among the best in town.
If you’re not necessarily in the mood for New Mexican food, Casa Grande has a pretty extensive menu of American entrees, including some of the best restaurant made fried chicken we’ve had in New Mexico (which has nothing on the Deep South in terms of preparing great chicken).
The salsa has the distinct flavor of cilantro, but in relatively subtle quantities. It’s a perfect prelude to an excellent meal in a restaurant we passed by often. My thanks to fellow Chowhound and friend Steve Coleman for recommending the “big house” to me.
Casa Grande Restaurant
2424 Central, S.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 26 March 2005
# OF VISITS: 3
BEST BET: Homemade Green Chile, Beef Burrito; Fried Chicken; Green Chile Enchiladas