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PHOTOS BY JAMES WILLAMOR
The Crossroads Correspondents will be previewing restaurants for the Oct. 7 Taste of the World. For more info and to make a reservation, click here.
Try the lamb.
Cocina Latina serves it only on weekends, and you might want to get there early before it runs out. Brothers Emmanuel and Antonio Ceron and their mother, Fausta Salvatierra, cook the lamb – borrego – in a pot, wrap the meat in maguey leaves and slow-cook it, letting the juices drip down into a blend of garbanzo beans, cilantro, morita peppers, onions, garlic and rice to create a consommé. You can buy the prepared meat by the pound or half-pound or just eat the consommé.
Don’t misunderstand – Cocina Latina (“Latin kitchen”) serves all kinds of tasty Mexican dishes, all made in a traditional style from their roots in Pachuca, Hidalgo. But the borrego is the specialty, and what led to the restaurant itself.
“That’s how we really got into the business,” Emmanuel said, “’cause people at parties and stuff would taste it and say, ‘Hey, you ought to serve this.’”
The family has been in Charlotte for 16 years but have run Cocina Latina for only about five. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because they used to run a deli and market by the same name around the corner on North Sharon Amity Road. They sold it, though, and the new owners kept the name. They’re doing well enough, but the economy has taken a chunk out of what had been a thriving establishment.
“When we first moved here, it was great. The economy wasn’t bad,” Emmanuel said. “I guess it hit everybody the same way.”
They serve classic Mexican dishes like enchiladas, chicken and beef plates and an extensive seafood menu – including fried and breaded tilapia and six shrimp dishes, like Camarones a la Parrilla, grilled shrimp marinated in garlic with rice, beans, salad and avocado.
“We try to keep it more authentic, homestyle cooking,” Antonio said. “We press our own tortillas here, try to make everything here.”
5135 Albemarle Rd.
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