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Restaurants & Bars 8

Casa Moreno in Covina: first visit, pretty good.

Will Owen | Jun 1, 200602:46 AM

This is not going to be an in-depth review, since we dropped in almost by accident. We were doing a little casual antiquing in Pictur-esskew Old Covina and got thirsty, and before we could say Boo we had menus in front of us. Well, it's a pretty little place in the best Renovated Old Building style, lotsa bare brick and stamped tin ceiling and all, and the waiter was a very personable young dude, and, yeah, we were a tad hungry too. And there were items that a person in the throes of the South Beach Diet could eat...so we got some iced tea, and then Mrs. O asked for the carnitas lunch special and I requested the chile verde. With the tea came some very nice chips, freshly fried and just greasy enough, and a molcajete (I think it's called) of salsa that coulda been zippier but had a lovely garlic whang. I'm not supposed to be eating chips, either, but didn't want to pick up the vessel and lap the salsa up with my tongue, so I was stuck with it, wasn't I?

To be brief, the carnitas were just chewy enough to be interesting, nice and succulent and possessed of a deep and charming pigginess, and the pork in my chile verde was only slightly less wonderful. My sauce was quite sharp; because of our diet we'd asked for no rice, and the chile verde really needed rice to balance the flavors, but it was certainly bearable. The kitchen compensated our lack of rice with extra beans; these were flavorful, and pretty spicy on their own.

The place made an excellent impression on us: a well- appointed and comfortable room, nice bar with a special marg section (in which I counted 31 different tequilas!), very good and unaffectedly friendly service, an interesting menu and good prices (ours was $21 plus tip). I don't know that we'll make a special trip here, but we'll certainly stop in next time we're in the area. Probably not when the mariachis are playing (just spotted those on the website, oh well...).

Link: http://www.casamorenogrill.com/

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