Memorable | One of the Best
La Jalisiense | From-Scratch Mexican in North Augusta, SC
Review by: Michael Stern
In This Kitchen, They Cook
The name is La Jalisiense (also spelled La Jalisciense). But the menu at this gem of a grocery/restaurant includes dishes from beyond the state of Jalisco. Customers eat from much of Mexico and the U.S. borderlands. But if the food cannot claim regional purity, it stakes out culinary high ground. One begins to anticipate something good after placing an order. The food does not come instantly. People in the kitchen actually cook it. La Jalisiense serves vivid, from-scratch Mexican cooking that ranges from house-made corn tortillas to hangover-cure menudo.
I love the huarache, which means sandal. Indeed flat like a sandal, it resembles an unfolded taco. The cook spreads luscious bean paste across a broad tortilla. Atop that comes meat. Choose steak, chicken, shrimp, tongue or — perhaps best of all — pork. Marinated in spice and torn into shreds, nuggets, and tender little strips, this al pastor pork makes taste buds very happy. Lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and creamy chunks of cotija cheese top the meat. One huarache costs well under $10: a very nice meal.
The same meats fill gorditas. A gordita — Mexican slang meaning fatso — pockets the meat in a plump corn masa pastry.
Purists will like chili colorado. An uncomplicated plate of pork chunks loll in the pepper sauce where they were cooked. The sauce not only flavors the meat. It seems to tenderize it, too. Like many from-scratch Mexican plates at La Jalisiense, this chili comes with rice and beans. The rich rice glistens. Cotija cheese crowns the luxuriously lardy beans. That same fine rice and beans plate also accompanies fajitas, which are an unctuous symphony of peppers, onions, squash, and meat(s) of choice.
Strange (for a restaurant in South Carolina), the menu offers no sweet tea. Normal (for a Mexican restaurant), the beverage selection includes fruit juices, beers, and bright, refreshing horchata. Made from rice with a starchy-sweet character, horchata serves as a welcome balm for a pepper-savaged tongue.
Such a hospitable restaurant! Waitresses take extra time to explain some of the more exotic items on the menu to newcomers. And they seem genuinely happy when a customer lets them know just how good the food is.
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|