Written by nilgun on 06 Oct, 2003
When we visited Carlsbad, we preferred to eat with the locals at local establishments. Our choice for cuisine was Mexican (surprise, surprise!). Even the Chinese restaurant in Carlsbad advertised "Great Mexican Food." After driving around the town, my husband picked Carlos' Place for lunch on…Read More
When we visited Carlsbad, we preferred to eat with the locals at local establishments. Our choice for cuisine was Mexican (surprise, surprise!). Even the Chinese restaurant in Carlsbad advertised "Great Mexican Food." After driving around the town, my husband picked Carlos' Place for lunch on our first day. Carlos's Place is definitely a restaurant that would be mentioned in any travel books. Even the outside of the restaurant is not very inviting. It is an old one story building right off the street with no apparent parking lot. The window frames are painted blue, as well as, the door. I would not be surprised if the building was made of mud.
Although we learned Carlos' had only opened two months ago, the restaurant looked like an old place. Probably, there was another restaurant in the same spot, where Carlos (I assume) bought and established his own restaurant. The owner did not care about renovating the place, just kept it the way you would imagine a restaurant would be in Mexico. The restaurant consisted of two rooms. Tables and chairs were scattered in the rooms. There were no boot seats or fancy decorations on the walls. The room when you enter the restaurant was slightly bigger and brighter than the second room. We chose to eat at the first room, where the owner also sat at the cash register. He was a little bit chubby guy with a mustache. He did not stand up and interfere with the service. The patrons consisted of locals solely: some Mexican origin some not. Our waiter was a Hispanic young man who helped us in our choice from the menu. I asked him stupid questions such as "What is a chili relleno plate? What is a smothered burrito?" I picked the smothered burrito with the red sauce (I was told the green sauce is hot); my husband picked the taco plate. My food of smothered burrito ($5.79) came with rice and beans, and my husband's taco plate was usually $5.15, but it was the food of the day, so the price was lower than the menu price. We were served chips and salsa. The salsa we had was very different from what I was used to. It didn't have any chunks of tomatoes, onions, peppers, or cilantro. It was a thin sauce like tomato sauce (of course, it was really hot). The chips were also different: they were a little bit hot. My husband really loved his tacos. The taco shells were thick and fried, and very delicious. My smothered burrito tasted plain; maybe I should have ordered the green sauce, but I was still trying to recover from the hot salsa.
Carlos' also serves breakfast (three-egg omelets, hotcakes, breakfast burritos), sandwiches, soups, Italian (fettuccine Alfredo, chicken Parmesan, shrimp scampi), and American food (liver and onions, burgers). The address is: 805 W. Mermod Carlsbad NM (505) 885-1342
The next day, we chose a different Mexican restaurant for lunch. This time I chose the restaurant. Larez Restaurant was on the main road to the caverns. The decor of the restaurant was very different from Carlos' Place. It looked more upscale (compared to Carlos' Place) and was serving an extensive list of wines. The restaurant consisted of two eating areas and a bar. The patrons of this restaurant were mostly people who came in groups from work. They were serving a Mexican buffet for $6.50/adults, $3.95/kids (10 and under). The buffet had Mexican rice, beans, two different kinds of cheese enchiladas (one with red sauce, one with green sauce), taco shells, taco beef, asado (chunks of pork in red chile), shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pinto gallo, salsa, cantaloupes, guacamole, and slices of cake. The buffet also included coffee or tea. There is also buffet on Friday evenings for $7.00/adults, $4.95/kids.
The buffet at first didn't interest us. However, after checking the options in the menu, we decided we are going to get similar food if we ordered from the menu. (Except the new menu item: "Larez Mexican Steak," cooked with onions and chiles.) We both choose the buffet. Here again, the salsa was thin, and the chips really delicious. The buffet food was not spicy at all, and my husband loved that the food wasn't hot. Even the salsa was very plain for me. This Mexican buffet would be a good place to bring your kids. The address for Larez Restaurant is:
1524 S. Canal, Carlsbad NM (505) 885-5113