Sopaipilla and a Smile – La Roca

Dan says…2009-fork-you-004a

If you live in the Cross Lanes/Nitro area or frequent Cross Vegas (Tri-State Racing and Gaming Center) then you have probably been to one of the restaurants that have inhabited the building at 30 Nitro Market Place.  It started its life as a Char House, then it became a BMW’s (barbeque, mexican and wings), and now it is La Roca. I never had the pleasure of eating at the Char House (thank you Baby Jesus), but I did eat at BMW’s once.  In my opinion, when you can’t decide what kind of restaurant you want to be you’re doomed to fail.

La Roca was busy during my midweek visit. There wasn’t a wait on Thursday, but I notice they had a pager system that must get put to use on the weekend.  We were seated promptly and I inquired about the draft beer selection.  I was stressed and thirsty. A 22 oz Dos Equis would have hit the spot, but I would have to settle for a bottle of Negro Medelo in a frosted mug.  Yes, I realize there is a Man Law outlawing fruit in beer, but I like a squeeze of lime it my Mexican beer.  It is so much more refreshing.

Our chips and salsa hit the table before we opened the menus.  The chips where freshly fried and still hot.  The salsa was mild and was lacking the cilantro and jalapeno kick that I enjoy.  La Roca also serves a creamy dip for the chips.  It is salad dressing (it adds a tangy zip 😉 ), sour cream, salt, pepper, and seasonings.  It was ok, but I’d rather have guacamole any day.  The menu is a little different from your typical Mexican joint.  They have quite a few grilled entrees. One item that got my attention was the Pina Roca.  It was grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, chorizo and vegetables in a hollowed out pineapple for $13.99.  It came with a side salad.  I was looking for a more inexpensive item, because I planned on ordering a tamale ala carte.  My coworker had never seen one and didn’t understand how it was steamed in a corn husk.



In addition to special entrees, they had the order by number combinations that are typical of all Mexican restaurants in the area.   I had seen Susan’s shrimp fajitas at Lunch (yes I ate Mexican for lunch, too) and decided I wanted shrimp.  I settled on the  Arroz con Camarones for $8.99 and a tamale for $2.25.  My friend got a Chimichanga.  He always orders the chiminchanga.  We ate at CJ Maggies, chimichanga. We were in Phoenix together, chimichanga, chimichanga, chimichanga. What can I say? he likes fried burrito goodness.  He reported that La Roca’s chimichanga was smaller and not as good as others he has consumed.  It is pretty safe to say that he knows what he is talking about.
The Arroz con Camarones was too cheesy for my tastes, but the shrimp were cooked perfectly. The portion was fair for the price.  The tamale was stuffed with pork and the flavor was flat.  It was topped with cheese, which is different from how I normally see them. I finished my meal with a sopaipilla.  My coworker and I went to Arizona on a work trip and really enjoyed the sopaipillas they served out west.  We have yet to see the version we enjoyed there in the east.  This grilled fluffy tortilla topped with honey and chocolate was delicious, but failed to meet our Arizona sopaipilla expectations. It was $1.99. (Side note: sopaipilla can also be spelled sopapilla or sopaipa.)

This place is busy on the weekend, but generally no lines, and no waiting through the week.  Stop in and give this THREE FORK restaurant a go.

I apologize but all my pictures are missing in action. The sopaipilla was taken with my phone.

30 nitro market place
nitro, WV 25143
(304) 769-0404

La Roca on Urbanspoon

12 responses to “Sopaipilla and a Smile – La Roca

  1. I don’t drink anymore, but when I did I picked up a really bad habit in Oaxaca Mexico of drinking Negro Medelo with lime. I would do anything for it. Whenever I was out-of-town I looked up Mexican food stores and big beer warehouses just to find cases of Nego Medelo which I took home and wouldn’t share with anyone.

    Too bad this new place isn’t better. Someday maybe WV will get a really good Mexican joint. . . but then, restaurant have to cater to local tastes. . .

  2. I usually only get the Vegetarian Fajitas at most Mexican places, which usually come out the same, but what I do like about La Roca is the Guacamole. It’s actually changed since the restaurant opened. The past few times I’ve been there, it’s actually been really fantastic and made the correctly……which seems to be a challenge for Charleston area Mexican restaurants.

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  4. La Roca is the worst Mexican restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. I have been there 3 times and never had a good experience. My buddy and I, (two guys, laid back, who never get annoyed) almost wanted to shoot ourselves after dealing with what I’d like to think as the worlds worst waiter. Seriously, I think he had a couple screws loose. For the money, the portion sizes were small and not satisfying. Sorry Dan, but this place sucks.

  5. I’m aware of the “Fork Rating System…” I was expressing my own personal feelings based on my experience at La Roca…not refuting yours.

  6. Service is crap but the food is good but very pricey. Pollo Yucanito ROCKS!

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  8. I eat here frequently and every single experience has been a good one. The food is always hot, the wait staff is always as fast as you’d expect from my fellow Mexican bretheren, and everyone’s orders are almost always right(a pretty good success rate of at least 95% or higher). The staff is usually friendly too. I get the chimichanga meal every time and would have to disagree with the guy who said they aren’t very good. I have had LOTS of chimis and these are great. I went for dinner one time and I noticed that you get TWO of them for Dinner. TWO Chimi’s for the price other places charge for ONE. Come on that’s great. They have really good tacos and the taco cheese is addicting as hell. The Sopapias are good, and the only thing that would send this place over the top for me would be if they had Coke products. My dad went here once and got the pineapple meal and loved it. He even went back home to Arkansas and suggested it to his local Mexican restaurant. I would give this 4 out of 5, we enjoy it every single time.

  9. I recently had the pineapple meal that Shawn mentioned. I was intrigued by the menu description. It contained chicken, beef, shrimp, chorizo, veggie and fresh pineapple. It’s served piping hot in the “shell” of the pineapple. It was really good. I will definitely get it again.

  10. Sproston Greene

    I take back everything good that I’ve said about this place. The food and serivice have been declining in quality for a while now. Our last visit was really bad and two of our party got sick. Avoid.

  11. Sproston Greene

    Ok after a year + I got suckered into going back to La Roca.The good news is as far as I know nobody from our party got sick. The bad news…is that they have a new menu and got rid of all of the unique and exotic sauces and flavorings that made them different. Now La Roca is just another same old same old mexican restaurant no different than any other except for that creamy sauce that they bring with the chips. Clearly they exist to serve the casino crowd and have sacrificed service and most important the quality of their food in the process. Sad.

  12. Sproston Greene

    Ok not quite a year plus…

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