THE EATBEAT: Casa Mexico receives a hearty welcome in East Grand ForksThe decor was beautiful, the menu long and the booth comfortable when I visited Casa Mexico in East Grand Forks. The place, which opened Dec. 19 and has been home to other restaurants, has been redecorated and refurbished in most inviting Mexican style.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
The decor was beautiful, the menu long and the booth comfortable when I visited Casa Mexico in East Grand Forks.
The place, which opened Dec. 19 and has been home to other restaurants, has been redecorated and refurbished in most inviting Mexican style.
I like the way the booths have an arch above them and the barrel chairs that are used at some of the tables. There is a painting on the wall at the rear that adds depth and interest to the restaurant. It was done by Antonio Magana Aquirre of Vermillion, S.D.
I arrived just at noon and was seated quickly on a cold winter day. The place began filling up quickly. The traditional basket of chips and salsa were delivered. I liked the thin, sharply flavored salsa. I noticed on the menu that extra chips and salsa are delivered with a charge. But then, you wonder who needs more than one basket when you are ordering a meal?
My choice was called Speedy Gonzales, which includes a beef taco, beef enchilada and rice or beans ($6.85). For me, it’s Spanish rice. I am not fond of refried beans. The food was good with a diet cola.
When a friend — Katie David — joined me, she ordered one of the combinations — chimichanga, flauta, guacamole salad and Spanish rice ($9.75).The flauta, a Mexican corn tortilla tightly rolled around a filling and deep fried, was good enough. The chimichanga, a deep-fried meat burrito, was good. This is a substantial meal and was more than she could eat, even with my help.
The waiters, mostly men, step lively during the noonday rush. The restaurant was full by 12:30 p.m. There is a kitchen crew of five. There is extra seating downstairs, where everything also was redecorated after the restaurant reopened following a period when the building was not used.
It seems like a logical spot for a Mexican restaurant. The response has been enthusiastic.
The large, colorful menu at Casa Mexico also was done by the artist Aguirre. It is a work of art. It is also so detailed that it could be overwhelming.
Before KD joined me at the restaurant, I had a chance to read the pages. There is one of burritos and specialties and another page of items from the grill. These include everything from an el rodeo burger to pollo campestre, which is described as grilled chicken breast.
There are fajitas and steaks on the menu along with nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas and a vegetarian selection. An in-house special soup is available and made with chunks of chicken, rice, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and avocado. Seafood, appetizers and desserts round out the choices.
At Casa Mexico you could finish a meal with flan Spanish custard or sopapilla, fried pieces of flour tortilla topped with honey, butter and cinnamon. A chiminana is offered for $4.25 and described as banana wrapped in a deep-fried tortilla covered with honey, cinnamon and sugar and drizzled with chocolate and whipped cream.
Casa Mexico Restaurant
112 14th St., N.E., East Grand Forks
Management: Sergio Aguirre, Aberdeen, S.D., and Leodegario Garcia, East Grand Forks, owners; Ernesto Garcia, manager; Jose Garcia, chef.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 10:30 p.m. closing Friday and Saturday.
Seating: 65 to 70 on main floor, 75 downstairs.
Telephone: (218) 773-4331 (for reservations).
Report card: Full array of Mexican fare served in renovated, beautifully appointed restaurant. Prices are midrange, service is good. Beer, wine and liquor is available.
Signature item: Carnitas — sauteed pork dish served with lettuce, tomatoes, sliced avocados, onion, Spanish rice, refried beans and flour tortillas for $12.95. The average luncheon check is $10 to $12. Average dinner check is $18 to $20.
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or call (701) 772-1055.