When I think about the combination of a restaurant and a strip mall my mouth doesn't instantly start watering - but hey, that's just me. However, when I think about La Unica, located in the Food Lion shopping center in Huntersville, North Carolina, it does. Why? Because it's simply the best authentic Mexican food north of Charlotte, in the Lake Norman area. Willie and the crew at La Unica do an excellent job of serving up dishes that reflect the bona fide flavors of his native Mexico. I've easily made over 50 visits to La Unica, so trust me when I say this. See, I'm a self-admitted Mexican food snob, but it's okay, because I know I am (no denial here) and I'm totally alright with it. With a menu as long as the Rio Grande, there are so many ways you can go, but I highly suggest you keep it simple. Stick with the salsa and the "authentic" tacos. Yep, authentic tacos - and for all of us that speak "Amurican" (kidding) that means no hard shell...ever. Just like they prepare them south of the boarder, these are served on soft corn tortillas, topped with fresh cilantro and chopped onions. My three favorites include the Pastor (roasted pork), Barcoa (soft, shredded beef) and Carnitas (chunky pork), but there are so many more to choose from: Asada (chopped steak), Chorizo (Mexican sausage), Pollo (chicken), Lengua (beef tongue) and more. Again, these tacos are the real deal and full of flavor. So real that if you close your eyes when enjoying your first bite, you'll hear the sounds of a Mariachi band and when you open your eyes you'll be wearing a huge belt buckle, a cowboy hat, and spurs on your boots...okay, maybe not that real.
Seriously, not to be overlooked is their salsa, which arrives at the table as soon as you're seated. Just make sure they drop off two types of the red salsa, one's mild and the other is spicy, blend the two and you're eating some of the freshest, best tasting salsa around.
For those in the Charlotte area looking for great Mexican food in a very relaxed, casual and friendly setting (ahem, strip mall), you have to check out La Unica, in Huntersville. Order up a few different authentic tacos, enjoy that salsa, and let me know how those boots fit! Enjoy ;)