Gables Aragon Cuisine: Excellent Mexican Food at Affordable Prices

If you were to judge Gables Aragon Cuisine (141 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables) by its suggestively ambiguous name, you probably wouldn't give it a chance. You might not even guess what they serve. Opened just three months ago, the Mexican restaurant just received a liquor license. Bring on the margaritas! Served on the rocks, these ($7) are a delicious sea of sweet and sour mix and tequila, with a good kick and a salted rim.

The atmosphere only a slight upgrade from casual with white linen on the tables. There is countertop seating at the window, which is a little awkward because the surface is thin. The TV over the bar detracts from the ambiance, especially with the volume up and the channel set to Telemundo.

Complimentary chips and salsa are a nice touch, however the salsa comes in a shallow dish and runs out quickly.

We started with the smaller portion of the gym salad ($11.50), which comes with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and is chock full of veggies including onions, corn, green beans, and peppers. Cilantro is added in good measure, as well as just the right amount of thyme dressing. A generous cut of grilled skirt steak (requested medium rare and served medium rare) is mounted on top. The result is a fresh and filling salad that can easily accommodate two people.

What should be considered a signature dish is the Aztec lasagna ($13.95) which is layers of corn tortillas with Oaxaca cheese, grilled chicken, mashed beans, corn, sour cream, poblano peppers, and the choice of red (spicy) or green (mild) sauce. We chose green, which still had plenty of spice to it. The dish was inventive and full of rich flavors that, despite the construction of the dish, could easily be deciphered.

All of Gables Aragon Cuisine's desserts are made in-house. The flan ($4.95) has form and richness to it, and is served with dried guava and dusted in sugar. It paired nicely with the coconut ice cream ($4.95), also made in-house. The problem with the ice cream is that it melted quickly. It wasn't too sweet, which is a good thing.

It might have a mouthful of a name and might not be as sexy as Talavera, which is around the corner, but Aragon Gables Cuisine serves better food and beverages at better prices.

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John Zur