My husband and I had an appointment in the valley this morning. So, after having read some very favorable Chowhound threads on the Cuban restaurant 'El Criollo' in Van Nuys, we decided to time our day to have lunch there. We found the restaurant tucked into the end of a strip mall at the corner of Victory and Fulton. Lots of parking right in front. As it was just before noon, the little restaurant (maybe 10 tables) was practically empty, with the exception of one other couple. The waiter (owner?) came to our table immediately with the daily specials board and a basket of very warm, fresh Cuban bread. With dishes ranging from $4.50 to $6.50 on the board, we knew our credit card would be happy, even if our taste buds were disappointed. They certainly were not. I ordered the breaded steak ($5.50) and my husband ordered the pressed pork sandwich. Both were such successes. In fact, my breaded steak, done with very delicate spices, light breading and a hint of lime juice was so tender and perfect, I'm dreaming of my second meal there already. Plantains - moist, light and perfect. Fluffy rice and the creamiest black beans accompany the meal. My husband said the pork was succulent and tasty and the Cuban bread used on the sandwich was slightly toasted, giving a satisfying crunch as he munched. Total bill, with meals, iced teas and tip --- little over $16.00. By the time we left at 12:45, every table was full. We know why! Thanks, Chowhounds. An excellent recommendation!
13245 Victory Boulevard