My dining companion and I were geared for an uncharacteristically spicy adventure on an unseasonably warm afternoon so we searched for a restaurant that would cater to our discerning tastes. What better way to satisfy an urge for earthy fare than to look for an unclassified Mexican eatery!
San Lucas LI Tierra Mexicana is wedged in a small strip-mall on the Black Horse Pike. We passed it by without seeing it, turned around, and saw the sign. We entered and saw no one at first, so we grabbed two menus and seated ourselves. The tables were graced with colorful serapes, which lent a festive air to an otherwise drab interior. Our server arrived with a plate of unfortunate-looking nacho chips coated with a grayish substance I can only hope was a bean derivative of some kind. We were also given a plate of red chili and a plate of green chili to go with the chips.
Our server was attentive and cheerful. Our food arrived quickly. I ordered several appetizers: Picanditas, Flautas, Chalupa, and Tostados de Pollo. My companion ordered Mushroom Quesadillas and Deep Fried and Seasoned Pork on Pan Cubano (Cuban bread). We both had a taste of every dish.
At first glance it was difficult for me to tell the difference between my four dishes; all were covered with lettuce and a strange-looking but tasty cheese dressing. The Chalupa was dry and bland but the Flautas, Picanditas, and Tostados de Pollo were divine. I truly enjoyed the tender, pulled chicken inside each of the three dishes. All were seasoned perfectly, just spicy enough, and the portions were large enough to share.
My dining companion's fried pork sandwich was the star of the show. It was spicy, warm, and delicious, wrapped in aluminum foil and large enough to take half of it home. The Cuban bread was fresh and crisp and the sandwich was well worth the price. I found her mushroom quesadilla inedible but my friend seemed to enjoy it.
We were dismayed that the restaurant did not serve coffee. There are many interesting Mexican and Cuban blends available but alas, we were forced to eat dessert coffeeless.
The only homemade dessert available was flan. My companion and I each ordered our own dish and it was sumptuous and light, the way a flan should be.
Rita's Ratings are as follows:
Atmosphere: 1/2 star out of 5 stars
Cleanliness: 1 star out of 5 stars (due to unsanitary conditions on the floor)
Taste: 3 out of 5 stars
Service: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Economy: Supper for 2 with 2 sodas: $24 (inexpensive)
Pleasant background music & cleanliness throughout would have lifted this eatery from a Quickie-Mart luncheonette to a family-style restaurant. Get rid of the high, delicatessen-type counter, move the sodas to the kitchen instead of having a refrigerator take up a quarter of the dining room, and get rid of the jukebox, altogether.
San Lucas LI Tierra Mexicana
115 S Black Horse Pike,