Note: This review was originally published in the SIUE Alestle.
La Casa Mexicana has a wide menu of the kind of restaurant Mexican food we’ve all come to love, but you might pick a less busy time to go.
La Casa bills itself as a fusion of Indigenous Meso-American cooking with European elements such as Spanish staples. As a longtime consumer of “Americanized” Mexican food – heavy on the sour cream and cheese that real Mexican food often doesn’t include – I’ve always enjoyed the fare there.
We visited La Casa Mexicana on a Sunday at lunchtime, and the servers were speeding about at a high pace. No one could argue they weren’t working hard, but it was pretty difficult to flag them down for soda and chip refills.
And we needed those refills, as both the mild queso and guacamole we ordered as appetizers were delicious and flavorful. I usually require a chunky, chewable guac and my husband prefers very spicy queso and salsa, but these were terrific enough that we were happy outside our usual preferences.
The menu has an enormous variety, with 11 types of burritos, six enchiladas, 10 platters of street tacos and a variety of quesadillas, fajitas and other entrees, including 15 fish dishes.
We both ordered beef chimichangas, which come with a platter of rice, beans and a square of sweet cornbread. Again we ran into the crowd issue – the server misheard my husband and brought us both the lunch plates when my husband ordered the full size. We didn’t mention it, though, because the place was so busy and the servers so rushed that it seemed futile. The chimichanga was delicious, though the lunch size will be a bit small for husband-sized appetites, and if you want guacamole on your chimichanga you’ll need to order it special.
Lunch plates run about $8-10, drinks not included. Entrees start at $12 and some items run as high as $20, so it’s not quite as cheap as a college student budget might prefer.
La Casa Mexicana has locations in Edwardsville and O’Fallon (Ill.), and I’d definitely recommend it as solid mid-range Mexican fare – but not on a Sunday.