Uptown 4: Riverbend, Carrollton & Broadmoor: 1434 S Carrollton Ave. 504-281-4127. Map.
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WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Panchita’s was the first restaurant that convinced me that the state of Mexican restaurant cookery in New Orleans might actually get a boost from all the Hispanic people who came here to work after the hurricane. Family run and modest, it nevertheless has a good sense not only of what tastes good, but what might appeal to the adventuresome local palate.
Panchita’s got my attention with just one dish: enchiladas de mole, made with the unsweet chocolate-sesame-chile sauce of Puebla. I’m not sure whether they make it in house, but wherever it comes from it’s terrific in the chicken-stuffed enchilada. The menu is riddled with pork and barbacoa-style beef in numerous configurations.
Panchita’s opened in 2010 to the usual reception such restaurants get from the young customers of downtown: they packed the place and raved about it. After the novelty wore off, it became easier to get a table, but the food seemed to tone down a bit. The building has a history: for a long time it was Streetcar Sandwiches, a great old poor boy house.
If the weather is nice, it’s possible that all the customers will be outside at the sidewalk tables, under Carrollton Avenue’s big oaks. Inside, the furnishings are highly reminiscent of family places in South Texas and Mexico, with the expected religious aspect here and there. The heavy wooden chairs were made by hand.
Breakfast and Starters
Huevos a la Mexicana
»Huevos con jamon (ham)
»Huevos con papa y chorizo (potatoes and hot sausage)
Guacamole with chorizo
»Burritos: steak, grilled chicken, bell paper and onion, beans and cheese, fish, shrimp, chorizo, al pastor (marinated roast pork), barbacoa (grilled beef)
Quesadillas: shrimp, vegetables, cheese, steak, shredded beef, chicken
»Grilled tacos: Al pastor, carne asada, barbacoa, chicken, tongue, chicharron (fried pork), tilapia, shrimp, carnitas (roast pork)
Fajitas: steak, chicken, shrimp, fish
»Taquiza (fajitas with everything for two or more)
Camarones (shrimp) empanizados (breaded, fried)
»Camarones a la diabla (spicy red salsa)
»Camarones al mojo de ajo (chili and garlic sauce)
Camarones rellenos (stuffed)
Fileto de pescado (fish fillet) breaded and fried, or grilled
Filete de pescado a la veracruzana (tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs, like a Creole sauce)
Enchiladas with red or green chiles
»»Enchiladas de molé (dark, savory chocolate and chile sauce)
»Enchiladas de queso (cheese)
»Chile relleno (cheese or beef)
»Chilaquiles (fried tortillas with red or green chiles)
»Entomatadas (like an enchilada, with tomatoes inside) with eggs or steak
»Tamal de barbacoa (shredded beef)
Fried tacos (like flautas)
Tostadas (flat fried corn tortillas with beef and salad)
»Carne asada (grilled beef)
»Chuleta de puerco (pork chops)
Empanadas (fried pies filled with beef or chicken)
Milanesa de res con papas (panneed beef cutlet with potatoes)
»Pinchos (skewered, grilled shrimp, chicken or steak)
Preparados de fruta (Mexican fruit snowball)
»Tres leches cake
FOR BEST RESULTS
Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never heard of here. They’re true to the cuisine, but don’t vend anything that might bee too ethnic for you. If you like your Mexican food very spicy, you have to tell them.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The restaurant makes much of Veracruz influences, but that city’s most famous dish–fish veracruzana–suffers from being made with tilapia.
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
- Consistency +1
- Value +2
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +2
- Sidewalk tables
- Good view
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations