Jorge Castillo: And no wonder, this is a family-run business where the owners, Victor and Gladys Gutierrez, take great personal pride in everything they serve.
Glenn Lindgren: So many Cuban restaurants are run by professionally trained chefs who insist on turning simple Cuban fare into something gourmet and foreign.
Raúl Musibay: Let me tell you that some of the best Cuban restaurants are run by people who got all their training in the family kitchen...
Jorge Castillo: ...where Cuban food was first and foremost a passion and only secondarily became a business.
Jorge Castillo: Working from her home, she soon ran afoul of the local authorities. Faced with the ultimatum find a professional kitchen or shut down Gladys almost left the business.
Glenn Lindgren: Then the owner of a local Mexican restaurant on Sunset came to the rescue. She could use the kitchen at his restaurant in the early morning hours to prepare her cantinas.
Raúl Musibay: Four months later she came to her husband with a proposition. Why not buy the restaurant and get into the business full time?
Glenn Lindgren: More than 16 years later, Gladys still arrives at El Cochinito early every morning to prepare menu items for that day.
Jorge Castillo: Her dedication is evident in the rich frijoles negros, served thick and creamy like they should be, not plain and watery as they serve them at some places like a bad can of soup.
Raúl Musibay: It's obvious that she cares for every bean!
Jorge Castillo: El Cochinito features "homemade Cuban food" and by that they mean traditional Cuban cuisine as enjoyed by the average Cuban in pre-Castro Cuba.
Glenn Lindgren: There is nothing fancy here, just good, hearty Cuban fare served without pretension.
Raúl Musibay: This is a restaurant for people who love to eat.
Glenn Lindgren: We dug into a platter of tostones mashed as thin as we've ever seen and fried to crispy perfection dipped in the garlicky mojo, they dance a crazy mambo on the tongue.
Jorge Castillo: The tamales here are rich with the basic flavor of fresh corn, smoky bits of pork, and plenty of garlic.
Raúl Musibay: Three tamales on a plate would make an excellent lunch, but why stop there? The pollo asado is a quarter chicken slow roasted to fall-off-the-bone perfection and finished on the plancha to make the skin so light and crispy...
Glenn Lindgren: ... you'll wish you could just sit and eat chicken skin all day!
Glenn Lindgren: El Cochinto serves three of the most popular Cuban beef steak dishes: Bistec Salteado, Bistec Empanizado, and one of the most popular, Bistec de Palomilla
Raúl Musibay: The Palomilla Steak is cooked to order and arrives just the way I like it, smothered underneath a blanket of sharp, lightly sautéed onions.
Glenn Lindgren: El Cochinto gets their Cuban bread from a nearby bakery, and although it's not as good as Porto's Bakery bread, it does make great toast and sandwiches.
Jorge Castillo: The Sandwich Cubano, Pan con Bistec, and Pan con Lechón are all great choices at lunch time.
Raúl Musibay: The maduros here are so sweet you may want to order them for dessert.
Jorge Castillo: The Camarones al Ajillo are a nice serving of generously sized shrimp swimming in garlic sauce served over fluffy white rice.
Glenn Lindgren: They also assemble a very respectable paella here Valencia style with meat and Marinera style with seafood.
Raúl Musibay: Tortillas Spanish-style omelettes are another menu feature that make a nice change of pace. The one with ham, potatoes and onions is a real treat.
Jorge Castillo: Wash everything down with a Cuban soda Materva, Iron Beer, Jupiña and finish your meal with a Cuban coffee and an arroz con leche and you'll think you're back in the 1950s in the Province of Havana .
Jorge Castillo: They typically offer a take-away special or two.
HOURS: Open Sunday to Wednesday 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. | Thursday to Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
PRICES: Most entrees between $8 and $12, plus lunch specials
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DRESS: Very casual
BAR: Beer and wine only