500BestSquareCarnitas @ El Mesquite Mexican Grill

Carnitas is roast pork cooked slowly until it’s so dense that it’s almost hard. In the process, the fat and cartilage in the meat brings the flavor of the lean (and it’s all lean when it arrives) to a high pitch. It’s identified more with Cuban cooking than Mexican, but that doesn’t stop El Mesquite–the best of the West Bank’s many Hispanic restaurants–from turning out a great version. On a related note, El Mesquite also serves mole poblano, the best Mexican dish of them all.

Chicken with mole and rice at El Mesquite Grill.

El Mesquite Mexican Grill. Gretna: 516 Gretna Blvd. 504-367-1022.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.

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