Flagstaff - Criollo and Charlie's, and a request
I was passing through Flagstaff and was surprised by how few recent Chowhound recommendations there were - here's the lowdown on the dinner and breakfast that I experienced.
Dinner at Criollo Latin Kitchen - though this place received good reports from many sources, our experience was mixed. We started with a Caesar salad that was underdressed with the blandest excuse for Caesar dressing I have had in some time - though the server said that there was anchovy I tasted only a whisper of it, and there was very little garlic. We requested more dressing and applied pepper liberally, which helped a little, but it was not an auspicious start.
At our server's suggestion, we continued with ropa vieja and carne asada tacos. Both were decent but not special, and certainly not worth the hype this place has received in some quarters. Service and atmosphere were good, but though the bar had several interesting whiskies and liqueurs there were only bottled and canned beers.
We walked from there to Beaver Street Brewery, where we drowned our sorrows in a very good hefeweisen and an exceptional Belgian trippel - if you appreciate good beer in the atmosphere of a scruffy saloon, complete with a 19th century bar with a bullet hole in it, this is the place to go,
We had breakfast at Charly's Grill in the Weatherford Hotel next morning - a place with Victorian character indoors and a patio that looked pleasant but was closed due to roof work. Service was slow but it was worth the wait - they made the coffee to order, including an excellent latte. I had the Navajo taco with green chile, my companion hotcakes. The green chili in the taco was a bit on the mild side, but anything would taste great in that fried bread. Hotcakes were good and served with real maple syrup. The portions were vast, and I might suggest ordering two breakfasts only if you have three people to consume them.
I will be passing through again next month - can anybody recommend places that are exceptional for another dinner and breakfast?
We ate at Criollo twice in the last week; liked it so much on the way up to the Grand Canyon that we returned for Brunch sunday on our way back. This is a really good place, with interesting, well-prepared Mexican fare.
If you're interested in something a little more on the fine dining end of things we had a nice meal at Brix on our last pass through Flagstaff. This was over a year ago, so I can't recommend any specific dishes, but I remember it as a pleasant experience overall and something that I definitely would consider repeating on future visits. I believe it does share ownership with Criollo, for whatever that's worth.