I don’t usually drive halfway to Reno for dinner, but I had it on good authority Leticia’s Mexican Cocina was worth the trip. A Strip property’s executive chef made the recommendation, and while Leticia’s cookie-cutter shopping center—two miles south of the Mount Charleston exit off I-95—doesn’t scream authenticity, the chips and dips immediately eased any concerns I might have had.
They serve a delicious trio: a chorizo-infused bean dip, a multi-layered salsa verde and an addictive salsa roja with smoky undertones. Standard fare they are not.
- Leticia’s Mexican Cocina
- 7585 Norman Rockwell Lane, 445-7722.
- Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.- 9 p.m.
The actual menu is appealing, too. I suggest the “award winning” QuesaTacos ($15.69). I’m not certain which award this dish won, but these sensations stuffed with browned Oaxacan cheese—think: queso fundido crust—are a wonderful, gooey mess. They’re typically served with shrimp, but our affable gringo bartender Justin suggested birria (goat) instead, and it did not disappoint. You also won’t want to miss the poblano rice casserole. It’s served as a side with several dishes, but its blend of rice, cheese and poblano peppers is good enough to order as a meal.
The chile relleno Carmelita ($13.69) strays from the standard presentation. A lightly battered poblano smothered in cheese, red sauce and crema, it’s a little on the heavy side but still easy to devour. And possibly best of all is Leticia’s pozole, a robust, complex beef- and pork-based soup with all the usual accompaniments. It’s authentic, hearty, meaty and as flavorful as I’ve had. Grab a bowl at the bar with a couple of Justin’s fine margaritas and you’ve got a meal worth driving for. Just be sure to gas up the tank first.