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Aug 4, 2009 06:23 AM

La Cuata, Very Special Authentic Mexican, Dudley NC near US70 and I-40

Last stop yesterday was at La Cuata on 117 Alt in Dudley. I was low on cash at this point and was going to have a couple of tacos, but was surprised to find that there are *almost* no tacos on the menu at La Cuata. The only exception is a plate of several tacos dorados filled with barbacoa. Everything else on the menu is soups, stews, and platillos(breakfast and lunch/dinner). For those not up on the authentic Mexican scene in the area, this is highly unusual.

I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, a torta de huevo, because that was all I had the cash to cover. This is not a torta in the usual sense- a Mexican sandwich. Rather, it's a type of egg fritter swimming in a spicy red tomato and chile sauce. I was absolutely bowled over- this was an incredible piece of cooking. The sauce was Mexican at its best- spicy, but not in a bludgeon-your-tongue-into-submission way. Very complex and went really well with the excellent tortillas and eggs. I was asked if I wanted chiles or not, so you could order it non-spicy if you wanted. If you do want it spicy, I would make sure to specify.

The rest of the menu was interesting and I'm really eager to get back. They offer goat and lamb birria daily(not just on weekends). I also saw listings for huevos tapatíos, onion chicken with chiles(pollo encebollado con rajas), Mexican beef with chiles(bistec mexicano con rajas). Others I'm forgetting. The smells in there were incredible- especially the birria, which I'm now dying to try.

They have an English menu(which I did not look at), but note that many of the more interesting items are only on a specials placard on the wall.

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  1. Popped back in today and tried birria(goat, but they have lamb also), grilled chicken with onions and roasted chiles, and mole poblano. Everything was excellent. My favorite was the birria, which I thought beat the pants off the birria at Fonda y Birrieria Jalisco in Raleigh. The broth was really rich and complex, mildly-moderately spicy, and thicker than other birrias I've had. This was more towards the consistency of a curry. Jalisco is pretty bland in comparison.

    The grilled chicken was a bit spicier still, and went really well with tortillas and excellent salsa verde/roja. Very big, bold flavors all around.

    Finally, the mole. We just got the mole poblano, which was a chicken quarter drenched in mole, but they also had a mole burrito and tostadas de mole. This was the spiciest of the three dishes, and although I enjoyed it a lot, I was suffering from a bit of palate fatigue by the time I got around to trying it. I'd need to start with the mole on a subsequent visit to get a good feel for it.

    Out of everything I've tried here, I'd rank the birria as the best, followed by the torta de huevo. Also, order off the specials board on the wall. Both the English and Spanish menus are much less interesting. They do have a couple of different kinds of tacos on the menu, contrary to what I said above. I don't know if this is a new menu or a difference between the English and Spanish versions. When I went in August, I only looked at the Spanish menu, today I had the English one. The torta de huevo is the only thing I've gotten off the regular menu. Most people in there today were eating mole, birria, or pozole.

    This is really, really good stuff and worth detouring a little ways to try out. I drove an hour to get to it today and it was absolutely worth it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Naco

      Naco - here is my update from my trip. Went to Flo's and got a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit and a couple of other biscuits which are still in my refrigerator. The biscuit was great. Went to Abram's and got one of thier cheese biscuits which I think the cheese is melted into the biscuit. Bigger fan of the biscuits at Flo's which rank up with the best I've ever had. Nice folks at both places.

      Jason's Grill was closed and appears to be permanently closed although the door the front area was open. They are sporting a C rating of 74.5 so i don't think I wiould be eating there anyway.

      Went to Cliffs of the Neuse State park. Very interesting with the Cliffs being there in eastern NC - not to be expected. After having to go around a detour due to the bridge being out about 1.5 miles from Grady's I made it to Grady's. Wass excited when I saw all the wood out back when I drove up.

      Got the BBQ sandwich with slaw and potato salad. They were out of blackeyed peas and some hush puppies. I thought it was very good and added some of their sauce. Had the banana pudding for dessert -very cool and creamy. Very nice people there - got a pound of BBQ, and pints of cabbage and potato salad to go along with another banana pudding. I'm thinking now that Skylight Inn is the best that I have had recently but Grady's is up there.

      Then went to La Cuata - went in there with my cheat sheet from your recommendations. I'm the 3rd person that is gone there this week based upon your input. They told me that you should come in and introduce your self. Very effiicient place and most people were eating menudo or beef stew. They were not making moles that day. I go the chicken with onions and peppers to make it spicy and one chorizo taco and one pastor taco. Very tasty. Had that for dinner that night. Really liked the chicken dish. Highly recommend and would go back if I was in the area. Thanks for the info.

      Skylight Inn
      1502 S Lee St, Ayden, NC Remove

    2. Made an early in the week visit to La Cuata today. The specials board was not out, but I asked the waitress if they had any specials, and was rewarded with a spectacular chicken soup- really rich, flavorful broth, whole carrots, lots of potato, several large, tender pieces of bone-in chicken. Cilantro, raw onion, and lime on the side.