Change is not something you necessarily want in your favorite neighborhood restaurant. You’re probably there a few times each month precisely because it’s comfortable, convenient and reliable. You know what you’re going to order, and so do they.
- Frank & Fina's Cocina
- 4175 S. Canyon Dr. #100, 579-3017.
- Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
But change can be a good thing. Witness the recent menu expansion at Frank & Fina’s Cocina. Owners Francisco and Josefina Pacheco—working with their kids, Priscilla and Adrian—have been serving some of the homiest Mexican fare in the Valley since the mid-’90s, when the restaurant was more centrally located on West Charleston Boulevard. It shifted out to the southwest suburbs about seven years ago, maintaining its solid grub and faithful following. I’m a regular, a fan of the fresh, slightly smoky table salsa, juicy charbroiled chicken, crisp vegetable taquitos and soulful ropa vieja. On my most recent visit, I opened up my menu to discover wonderful new variations, including the permanent addition of a few popular weekly specials.
One of those is the panuchos plate. Panuchos are basically the Yucatan version of a tostada—small corn tortillas lightly fried so they can be decorated with goodies, yet remain foldable for taco-style munching, with the tortilla balancing between crunchy and chewy. F&F decks out their panuchos with shredded chicken, sour cream, avocado, pickled onions and cotija cheese. They’re addictive, but also a great example of how Mexican food can be lighter, less greasy than the Americanized stuff we eat so regularly and still completely satisfying.
Enchiladas are transcendent here, especially the green chile pork option, each bite full of juicy stewed pork and bright, fresh vegetable flavor. Chicken mole enchiladas are another favorite, and now you can get the kitchen’s sweet, sticky, nutty, rich mole with half of one of those expertly grilled birds. Also new are lump crab enchiladas, steak ranchero with grilled hunks of peppers, onions and tomatoes, and breakfast additions like the crowd-pleasing carne asada scramble. Frank & Fina’s opens at 11 a.m. and serves breakfast all day, which makes ordering even more difficult.