Papillion, NE 68046
Plus four other locations in the Omaha metro area, and a few in KS and MO
Sun thru Thurs 11am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 11am to 10:30pm
One Beef Enchilada, One "Chili con Queso" Tostada,
One Crunchy Beef Taco and One Crunchy Chicken Taco
Beware, beware. Halloween was weeks ago, but the scariest thing to happen to me all year was yesterday at lunch. I had prepared for an average honky Mexican experience, with mounds of melted cheese, mild salsa, and high fructose Margaritas. It was true the salsa was mild, but the chips were light, airy and crunchy. My large Marg--with its fake sugar bite--may have brought me a step closer to diabetes, but I can't deny that I enjoyed the thick, velvety sucrose quality, and the subsequent slight buzz. The booths and tables could have been designed by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera on a very, very bad acid trip. But the real fright came when the Combo #1 was brought to our mesa. The tostada was advertised as "chili con queso," and so I anticipated a glop of Hormel-esque chili with cheddar. The Taco Bellian side of me thought it might actually be good. What I got was a flat corn tortilla directly out of a package, spread with ground beef that didn't have a hint of salt or pepper, let alone cayenne, cumin, or anything else tasty. There was some major skimp-age on the cheese, too, which I thought was supposed to be the cornerstone of honky-Mex. The tacos were soggy and utterly bland. The enchilada was spongy, and the sauce reminded me of ketchup. A far cry from the steaming casserole dish of baked enchiladas I like to imagine.
The prompt service ultimately couldn't make up for the poor quality food. On their website, the restaurant claims: "La Mesa's 'authentic' taste is created from family recipes made with only the freshest quality ingredients." I adamantly believe this to be a flat out fabrication, as I am fairly sure Mexicans do not eat unseasoned ground beef wrapped in a Mission tortilla covered in canned enchilada sauce. I suspect, based on the product I sampled, that the kitchen is actually nothing but a sea of steam table pans full of cheap ingredients off a Sysco truck. For this reason, La Mesa gets two fat thumbs down.
|Chips and Salsa:|
Not spicy, but still decent
|House Margarita with el Jimador Tequila|
(Try Agave at 5013 Underwood Avenue in Dundee, if ultra-Americanized Mexican is what you crave. For there is something to be said about that special feeling you get when the sizzling, smoking fajita plate is brought to your table. If you want to OD on chips and queso dip, Agave might well be your den.)