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8:50 PM Wed, Nov. 14th

Foodie Review: Downtown Prescott's Casa Alvarez is cheery, tasty and affordable

Casa Alvarez is behind the Dinner Bell Restaurant on Granite Creek at 321 W. Gurley St.

Casa Alvarez is behind the Dinner Bell Restaurant on Granite Creek at 321 W. Gurley St.

Located discreetly behind the Dinner Bell Restaurant right on Granite Creek at 321 W. Gurley sits Casa Alvarez. This traditional Mexican restaurant shares a kitchen and an owner, the Alvarez family, with the Dinner Bell Cafe, a long-standing Prescott tradition.

A short walk on a boardwalk along Granite Creek past the Dinner Bell gets you to Casa Alvarez. It's a small restaurant with a good-sized menu of traditional, reasonably priced Mexican fare. There are eight appetizers ranging in price from $4.50 to $12.95 for their Fiesta Platter containing six different items. There are about 40 entrees ranging in price from $10.50 to $15.95. Interestingly 10 of these are seafood entrees. There are specialties, combo platters, salads, and kids' entrees. In addition to the entrees, there are nine burrito selections ranging from $5.95 to $9.95 and a small dessert selection that rounds out the menu. They also have a full bar with beer and wine as well as soft drinks, coffee and tea. Imported beer is $3.95, wine is $4.95 per glass, and the house margarita is only $4.95 with a Cadillac margarita a $1 more.

Now getting to the food. They brought out warm tortilla chips with regular and tomatillo salsas. The tomatillo salsa is especially flavorful. I selected the Fish Vallarta, which is grilled cod in lemon butter. It is covered with Vallarta sauce and topped with cheese. The Vallarta sauce is a delicious combination of red peppers, onions and spices. And in this case cheese does go very well with fish. The fish was perfectly cooked and it was excellent. This entrée also comes with a salad, which was huge. And you must try the jalapeno cilantro dressing. What a great combination of flavors. There is also a choice of rice and fried beans or corn a la Mexicana. I chose the beans and corn ala Mexicana. The beans were very flavorful and are boiled and then smashed, no lard, bringing the full flavor of the beans to the forefront. The corn a la Mexicana is corn cooked with tomatoes and served with a subtle buttermilk based white sauce. Very simple but incredibly tasty.

My wife ordered the steak picado burrito, which is tender sautéed sirloin steak with onions, tomatoes, and green peppers, topped with enchilada sauce, cheese and sour cream. There is a lot of meat in this burrito and it comes with the delicious fried beans and rice on the side. She also ordered the same huge salad I had for only $3.25 extra. For dessert we ordered the Mexican standard, flan. It was the perfect ending to a great meal. Topped with whipped cream the flan was delicious and the perfect consistency.

You will not leave Casa Alvarez hungry, the portions are large and very reasonably priced. The atmosphere is cheery and scenic next to Granite Creek. Casa Alvarez is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 or 9 p.m. It's family friendly, and if you are looking for great Mexican food, give it a try.

- Archie