My first visit to La Cucaracha was nearly 30 years ago when I lived and worked in St. Paul. At that time La Cucaracha was much smaller, comprising only of an order counter and a few tables. After several expansions the restaurant is much larger today, and still continues to serve a variety of authentic cuisine. La Cucaracha is located on the corner of Dale and Grand in St. Paul. You may be able to find on-street parking but if not, there is a lot in the alley behind the bar. To avoid or reduce wait time, I suggest arriving early or later to avoid the rush. Last Friday I enjoyed a funfilled dining experience with good friends Jeff and Cathy Scherber, and my significantly better-looking half, Barb. As usual I requested the large table in the back of the bar, which has a great view of the restaurant and little traffic.
The online menu identifies most available items but is not as complete as the official in-house version. On this visit we started with the Guacomole and Chips, and Ceviche, which includes Bay Scallops, Cod and Shrimp. I am a huge fan of Ceviche and was pleased with their version. My dinner included a sampling of items as follows: Chile Relleno served a la plancha (grilled on a metal plate versus deep fried); Nina’s Cactus Stew (pork with Salsa Verde), which is identified as the spiciest item on the menu but proved not to be over the top; and a simple Shredded Roast Beef Taco. Yes, that was all for me. The a la Carte section of the menu is great for variety. The Tortas are a good choice as are the Tamales and Huevos Rancheros.
Where: 36 Dale Street South, St, Paul, MN | Corner of Dale and Grand in St. Paul
When: Sun – Wed 11 am – 10 pm; Thurs 11 am – 11 pm; Fri – Sat 11 am – 12 pm
What to Have: Ceviche, Tortas, Tamales and Huevos Rancheros
Atmosphere: Cozy and welcoming
Cost: $7 to $15
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
La Cucaracha has a full bar and several specialty beverages. On this occasion I chose the Bull Fighter Margarita made with Suaza Commemorativo, Cointreau and Grand Marinier. It wasn’t the best margarita I’ve ever had (San Pedro Café, October 2009), but was a close second.