Thursday, August 30, 2012

La Chinita Poblana

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.
Indy  46220
La Chinita Poblana on Urbanspoon


  1. Holy moly. Gotta get here. You had me at chipotle mayo.

  2. I was there a couple of weeks ago and had a quick bite. The Carnitas was great but the eggplant taco was fabulous. I thought the portions seemed small for $3 a piece but remembering that most places that I go have a taco plate range from $10-12 for three, not bad. Also, these tacos were richly flavored and hit the spot.

  3. A few of us had lunch there last week and really enjoyed it - the skirt and carnita tacos were hits and the shrimp and tilapia were also well received. The lunch special, for those concerned with price, is the way to go - two tacos and a great sweet and sour soup with tofu, mushrooms and bamboo shoots plus a drink were about $8. Standing at the counter is no problem or you can sit at Monkey's Tale a la the old Boogie Burger. Asian and Mexican flavors pair great and this will be a regular lunch stop for us.

  4. I stopped in and had tacos this past Tuesday, including the eggplant! I didnt think it was "crispy" as stated but the flavors were great. I also really like the chicken. The chunks of chicken themselves were pretty tender, no gristle that I found and the sauce had a peanut-y flavor that didnt overwhelm the taco as a whole. Also, their tilapia tacos were my favorite of the various tilapia based fish tacos that I have had in town. The only taco I slightly cringed at the $3 price tag was the eggplant. I think the amount of meat/fish in the other tacos made the price reasonable.

  5. We adore La Chinita..... LOved the eggplant tacos too, but don't miss the peanut noodle salad, and the sweet potato fries..... The often overlooked drinks are well worth the tiny splurge in calories. Made with fresh fruit and not too ridiculously sweet... either bubble tea with "jelly" and boba, or agua fresca... With fresh flavors like honeydew and papaya....they are right on the mark. Now all they need to do, is reserve a parking space, and have an employee come out take your order, and run it out to you so you don't get a ticket if you can't find a place to park!

  6. I also really like the pork. I agree with DeathByOrca, the lunch combo is a great deal and I, too, loved the sweet and sour soup. Next time you gotta try the sweet potato fries. The sauce is great with rich, deep flavors.

  7. We have eaten there several times and love it. Our favorite tacos are the shrimp and tilapia. We also tried the tounge and didn't finish it between the two of us. We have both never had tounge before and we found it to be bland. However, my friend's mother visiting from Mexico has tried them all and that was her favorite.

    Broadripple was in need of something fresh and new and I think La Chinita Poblano is great. After reading this I am looking forward to getting the peanut noodle salad on my next visit!