We’ve been kickin’ it in the suburbs, it’s true. A phenomenal Sri Lankan meal at House of Curry in Rosemount seduced us to come back to the area to try Las Tortillas, a Mexican joint that opened in 2011. The menu boasts house-made tortillas, great margaritas, and all of the usual suspects: burritos, quesadillas, tortas, tacos, and a long list of sauces and sides.
In addition to a spicy, salty, well-balanced margarita, we enjoyed the Mexican Asparagus ($8). It’s an unexpected appetizer, but totally worth pushing away the complimentary tortilla chips and salsa. The plate comes lined with whole grilled asparagus, much like a felled green fence. The stalks are smothered in a pale, lemony aioli, a sprinkling of queso fresco, and a dusting of something red and smokey, like paprika. It looks like vegetables gone to the unhealthy dark side, but it tastes light, creamy, a little charred, and pleasantly crunchy.
But creamy asparagus aside, the food at Las Tortillas is overall underwhelming. The kitchen does a great job of plating each dish with architectural skill and flourishes of cilantro, but the visuals don’t match the food’s quality.
Tortilla chips are under-salted and don’t hold a candle to the thick, house-made versions at places like Brasa and Sonora Grill. Their salsa has none of the brightness of fresh ingredients, and the guacamole ($8 as an appetizer) is missing salt, lime, and any sort of onion or garlic factor. Sides of rice were under-seasoned and limp, and both the black and refried beans rely heavily on cumin and feel straight from the can.
The restaurant’s meats were also a let-down. The Chicharron Chopped Pork Tacos ($11 for three) were very greasy, and our Puerco Verde Quesadilla ($10) was a tower of crispy round tortillas, a tiny bit of queso fresco, and very wet, very bland pork. An undercooked fried egg only added to the soggy effect. It was nothing like the spicy, citrusy chilaquiles you’ll find at Homi Mexican restaurant in St. Paul.
However, the general buzz and energy that filled Las Tortillas on a Friday night suggests a restaurant that’s well frequented. It’s noisy and bright (a great place to take the kids), it features a cute little bar, and lots of regulars walked through the door to chat and exchange hugs with the owners. Las Tortillas seems like the sort of restaurant Rosemount and other small communities absolutely need. If they can manage to match the flavor and ingredient quality of power-house, Latin-inspired spots in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Las Tortillas will be golden.
Las Tortillas, 15051 Crestone Ave, Rosemount, MN 55068; 651.332.2200