La Choza Homestyle Mexican - Las Vegas
Discovered this place by accident - it's near my house and I walked over to check out the British Foods Specialty Shop next door (it was closed for the day).
Had a delightful late lunch at unassuming La Choza - much better than I expected. It's homestyle fresh Mexican - I grew up on real Mexican food because my mother and father are from Mexico City (cremas con raja soup, Menudo, pozole, chilaquiles, champurrado, atole, huevos con chorizo, quesadillas, etc.). The meal I had at La Choza was as close as I've ever come to home here in Las Vegas. There are little hole in the wall home cooked food restaurants all over Los Angeles (especially East L.A.) like this but I've never found one here in Las Vegas. Pepe's Tacos and Roberto's and a few of those other places are really great but let's face it: they're still catering to gringos. La Choza DOES NOT.
The spanish rice has a hint of tomato (unlike most establishments which cook their rice in tomato paste or tomato sauce to give it an unnatural red color) with carrots and peas. This is exactly the way my parents made it - with veggies and cooked to fluffy perfection. Not sticky or gelatinous or crispy. Spanish rice (or Mexican home cooked rice) is always made this way (fluffy and soft) for every day meals as a staple food along with beans and tortillas. The beans were definitely cooked in lard at La Choza so if you have any aversions to eating food cooked in lard - the refried beans would not be a good choice for you here. I could tell these were not canned but slow-cooked pinto beans that were later refried in lard - the result is a creamy smooth consistency which is called casera (home style). Their beans go down VERY EASY and are good for scooping up with pieces of tortilla. I chose carne asada for my main dish because I wanted to choose something that wouldn't disappoint me. Their carne asada was hearty and cooked with spices which did not overpower or make it spicy - but the best part is they served it with real Mexican cream (like sour cream but creamier and richer, more delightful) and real Mexican cheese (queso fresco). We also ordered guacamole. Again, I was thoroughly impressed - not a hint of salt or lemon which to me indicates that the avocadoes were super fresh. I get suspicious when restaurants douse their guacamole in salt and lemon like they're trying to hide something. This guacamole stood on its own merits, pure avocado, green onion and cilantro with a nice steady consistency - not to chunky or watery - perfect, perfect. If you're a purist, you'll enjoy the guacamole. If you're looking for tomato and other bells and whistles, it probably won't do much for you.
I noticed they also serve Coca Cola in glass bottles (so much more satisfying to the mouth than aluminum wimpy cans) and other soft drinks from Mexico which are made with sugar rather than corn syrup and they also serve a popular L.A. yogurt treat called "Bionicos" which are yogurt with cut fruit and granola. The whole experience was very heartwarming. It's a sit-down place with servers but incredibly casual and inexpensive. There were soccer games playing overhead and men drinking bottled beer and eating huge bowls of menudo and beef stew. Also, cute babies in high chairs were chowing as well.
La Choza Mexican Restaurant #3 (there are two others in town, apparently)
3375 S Decatur Blvd (Decatur & Desert Inn - next to the British Foods Store)
Las Vegas, Nevada
I googled and it looks like there is only one La Choza in Las Vegas, but from your description one is all I am going to need. Thanks for the review - it is now on my To Do list for our next trip.
I've posted my report from a recent trip to La Choza at: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/409815
It appears that there are three La Chozas after all:
A second one (La Choza #2) at 1002 N. Rancho Dr., cross street W. Washington Ave.
And a third one (La Choza #1) at 1558 N. Eastern Ave., corner of E. Owens Ave. & Civic Center Dr. where Civic Center turns into Eastern Ave. This one may be also called La Choza de don Che-Che.
These were addresses I got from the internet, and they have not been "field spotted" to make sure they are still there. Furthermore, when we were eating at La Choza #3, I asked if the other two were affiliated and the woman helping us nodded her head. I'm not 100% certain we were understanding each other perfectly, so this info might not be completely accurate.