What?! Chandler has a Puerto Rican restaurant? Yes, I know AZ does not have a burgeoning Puerto Rican community. Yes, this is not the Bronx, Brooklyn or Orlando. But the Valley, specifically the Southeast Valley, can find Puerto Rican home cooking at FrinGo’s Kitchen.
FrinGo’s Kitchen is a small, clean, unpretentious family owned restaurant located in an inconspicuous strip mall in NoCha (“North Chandler”), just north of the NWC of Warner & Alma School.
FrinGo’s offers traditional Puerto Rican dishes such as Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican style braised chicken with potatoes), Bistec Empanizado (thinly sliced breaded and floured beef steak served with peppers and onions), Bistec Encebollado (thinly sliced and pounded beef steak smothered with caramelized onions marinated in adobo mojado, and Chuleta Frita (fried pork chops).
FrinGo’s also has other Puerto Rican classics like Tostones (fried plantain slices), Maduros (fried sweet plantains), and Pastelillos (small meat turnovers made with a thin dough, crimped edge and fried, similar to empanadas), which are traditionally eaten as a snack.
All main dishes Chicken (Pollo), Pork (Carne de Cerdo) and Beef (Carne de Res) come with a generous side of either Arroz Blanco (white rice) or Arroz con Gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas and ham) and a side of Habichuelas Guisada (red kidney beans with cubed potatoes and sliced green olives). All their dishes offer copious portions of food, all priced under $10.00. One main dish can feed two small children.
PERNIL. Hands down my favorite dish at FrinGo’s is the Pernil. It is slow roasted pork shoulder/butt (same cut from the hog as used for traditional BBQ pulled pork) seasoned with adobo mojado, (seasoning made up of garlic, salt, black pepper, olive oil, orégano brujo, vinegar or citrus juice or both). The pernil is great as is, but with some Pique Criollo (Puerto Rican hot sauce), I personally believe it takes it to another level adding sour, heat/spicy and additional acid to the dish!
PINCHOS. Another dish I would highly recommend is the Pinchos (grilled chicken skewer/kabobs made with chicken thigh meat) served plain or with your choice of three different glazes, Guava, Orange Passion Fruit and/or Mango BBQ. Can’t go wrong with with either the Guava or Mango BBQ!
CHICHARRON. If you love bacon or an avid porkaholic like myself, Chicharron (fried pork belly) may be the dish for you. Deep fried chunks/cubed pork belly with a heaping side of Arroz Con Gandules (yellow rice), Habichuelas Guisada, and some Pique Criollo, you are good to go!
AZ KEY TEAM RECOMMENDATIONS (Joseph Yu)
FYI. Puerto Rican hot sauce called Pique Criollo, is made with white vinegar, ajíes caballeros or habanero, black pepper, garlic and bay leaves and Mojo de Ajo, made with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper are available upon request. Mayo-Ketchup sauce is also available for your tostones.
So if you are looking for something new, but something familiar, If you live in the East Valley, considering moving to Chandler or you happen to be in the neighborhood, try FinGo’s Kitchen; it’s great option for an affordable, casual sit down restaurant.
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