Hubby and I had a quick lunch at the new Broad Ripple place La Chinita Poblana the other day—I have been noticing a lot of people talking about it online and wanted to give it a try. It is in the old Boogie Burger location (and I think there was another restaurant there for like 5 minutes in between). They have opened up the space inside. It seems roomier, although there is nowhere to sit inside, you can only stand. Currently, you can sit at the patio tables next door, but I am wondering how their lunch business will be after the weather gets cold (if it ever gets cold again). The man at the counter (assuming he was the owner) was really nice and clearly enthusiastic about his food. I asked him which were his favorites and he told me that would be like choosing between his children.
The tacos were good though—really good on the whole (they’re all $3 each). We shared the crispy shrimp taco, the tilapia taco, the carnitas, and the beef tongue. We also got an order of chips and salsa ($2.99). I love all the different flavors they are putting into the tacos—they aren’t just Mexican flavors—there is a lot of Asian influences as well. At first when I read the menu, I was a little suspicious of the combos, but generally they are pulling it off.
The chips and salsa were really good—the chips are homemade and are nicely salty. The problem with homemade chips is that they are often too greasy (see Pancho’s) but these were not. Nice and crisp and the salsa was delicious. Hubby said it was more of a “sauce” than a salsa and I think I agree. It was pureed very smooth but had a ton of flavor and some different spices than a lot of salsas have. It had a very pleasant building heat—by the end you could feel it on your lips, but you weren’t in pain or anything. The portion is a reasonable size for two people to share. Usually they give you way too much, but we ate all of these.
Our favorite taco of the four was the tilapia taco. It was blacked fish with yellow curry and chipotle mayo, pickled cabbage slaw and herbs. The cabbage was really nice and tangy, but you got a bit of depth and smokiness from the chipotle too. I also like that they just use one tortilla on the tacos—sometimes the doubled up tortillas make the flavor too much of the tortilla and not enough of the insides. I would get this one again for sure (hubby and I have decided we might each have to have our own of this flavor).
The next favorite was the carnitas. Hubby and first disagreed about it because the pork had a lot of crunchy bits to it—he wasn’t so sure he liked it that way, but I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t dried out—just fried a little crispy on the edges. It was topped with avocado cream, onions and herbs. We also had one of the fried shrimp tacos—the shrimp were done in a salt and pepper crust (it was a dry corn meal kind of crust) and then topped with a chipotle sweet and sour sauce and an herb mixture. The shrimp themselves didn’t wow me here—they were a little dry—but I really liked the flavors of everything else. You could taste that smoky and deeply spicy chipotle and then there was a really nice tangy kick. I added a little more of the salsa from the chips to moisten the whole thing up a little more (hot sauce may work well here too) and it was better.
My least favorite by far was the tongue. The tongue itself was cooked well—it was very tender, but the taco on the whole was really bland. It also had the avocado cream, onions and herbs, but there was just nothing that made this one stand out at all. More salsa and hot sauce would probably help some, but with all the other delicious options, I would take a pass on this one. In fact, we didn’t even finish it between the two of us.
Honestly though, I am really excited to go back—I want my own tilapia taco and I am kind of itching to try a couple of the other flavors—maybe the red curry marinated skirt steak or the crispy Japanese eggplant (please let me know if you have had them). Also, a friend recently told me the peanut/noodle salad ($5.25) was really good as well. Nothing like some tacos and noodles right?
La Chinita Poblana
927 East Westfield Blvd.