3 Fleur
Average check per person $15-$25
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

La Carreta

Mandeville: 1200 W Causeway Approach. 985-624-2990. Map.

Covington: 812 Hyw 190, 985-400-5202. Map.

Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY

The best of the American-style Mexican restaurants around the area, La Carreta is the Mandeville location of a Hammond-based chain. Its menus have kept pace with the news dishes introduced by the many small Mexican cafes that have opened in the past few years. La Carreta has been quick to pick up on the best of those and prepare them credibly, in a mainstream restaurant environment.

WHAT’S GOOD
They start you off with an exceptionally good salsa, brought forth by the quarter-liter. Even more alluring is the queso, particularly the version with chorizo. The ingredients used in all the dishes are of unimpeachable merit, fresh and good-looking. While most of the food is gussied up more than they would be in a mom-and-pop cantina, there no watering down of the flavors.

BACKSTORY

La Carreta is a small, rapidly-expanding chain of seven Mexican restaurants in Southeast Louisiana. Saul Rubio, native of Queretaro, Mexico, came to Hammond to go to school, and worked in the usual capacities in Mexican restaurants. In 1998, at 36, he opened his first restaurant in Hammond. Almost from the beginning, the restaurant has not only expanded its reach but also its menu. La Carreta has no connection with Carreta’s Grill, another chain of Mexican restaurants in the same region.

DINING ROOM
The walls are dark, but the lighting gives the tables in the two main rooms a pleasing brightness. A few outdoor tables are under the trees. The service staff is friendly and responsive, and may even be too quick to bring the food out. The new Covington location is a bit smaller, and its outdoor dining area is less bucolic, what with Causeway Boulevard’s thick traffic.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters

»Queso

Bean dip

»Guacamole (made tableside on request)

Spinach & artichoke dip

»»Chorizo con queso

Stuffed jalapeños Veracruz

Flautas Veracruz (chicken)

»Chipotle shrimp

Quesadilla Veracruz (chicken and cheese)

Nachos, ground beef, chicken or steak

Shrimp & corn bisque

Ceviche al oregano

Duck quesadillas

Shrimp cocktail

Soups & salads

»Tortilla soup (chicken broth, avocados)

Bean soup

»Avocado salad, grilled chicken, tomatoes, cilantro vinaigrette

Taco salad

Spinach salad, chicken, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, cranberries, cheese

Caesar salad

Entrees

»Traditional fajitas, chicken, steak, shrimp, combo or vegetables. »»Monterrey fajitas (skirt steak)

Enchiladas or burritos verdes (chicken, tomatillo sauce)

»Enchiladas Potosinas (cheese & bean, with grilled chicken or carne asada)

Burrito dinner

Burrito wrap

Chile relleno

»Shrimp brochetas (like a kebab, stuffed with jalapeno, cheese, bacon)

Alambres (steak, sautéed onions, cheese)

Alambres de camaron (as above, shrimp)

Pollo loco (chicken, spinach, mushrooms, cheese, vegetables)

»Carnitas (roast pork, sautéed onions)

Tacos de la calle (“street tacos,” the small ones in double soft corn tortillas, filled with shredded pork, carne asada, or fish)

»Carne asada (shoulder tenderloin steak, sautéed onions)

Pork chops, green onions

Rib eye steak, green onions, cheese enchilada

»Tamales, tomatillo & red sauce, with cheese or shrimp chile relleno

Chimichanga

Mexican combo dinners (many variations; the best is the sampler plate)

Monterrey dinner (chicken, shrimp or mahi-mahi)

»»Diabla shrimp (chipotle sauce, avocados, queso)

Quesadilla dinner (chicken, steak or shrimp)

»Parrillada for two (steak, chicken, shrimp, fajita garnish

Desserts

»Flan

»Tres leches cake

FOR BEST RESULTS
If you’re going to have an appetizer, split it with someone else–it’s too much food. Also, tell the server to hold back on your entree until you’re finished the first course.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Why does La Carreta, with its obvious talent in the kitchen, stop short of serving things like mole poblano, cabrito, and menudo? I think the market is ready for it.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD

Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+2
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness
  • Local Color

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

 

  • Live music some nights
  • Courtyard or deck dining
  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

 


1 Readers Commented

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  1. richard on March 31, 2014

    I had a list of Mexican restaurants (from my GPS) and we asked the workers at the White Elephant antique store in Mandeville to pick a good one for us. They all told us that La Carreta was the best on the list we gave them.
    Sure enough, we stopped by and really enjoyed the nice, clean environment, great staff and even better food. The Salsa was great. I ordered the Pollo Loco and it was very good. My wife ordered the Quesadilla dinner as she was very satisfied.
    This is a first class place with reasonable prices, great staff and excellent food. Try it! You won’t be disappointed.

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