Really more southwestern in approach than Mexican. Went back here for the first time in months and I'm wondering why we stayed away so long.
I think the reason this place is only open for dinner is that they spend all day cooking. Starting with the salsa and continuing through the meal everything tastes fresh and made with care.
I started with Colorado steak soup: cubes of beef, tomato, corn, and kidney beans in a rich beef broth laced with enough jalapeno to let you know it is there without being dominant, topped with melted queso blanco.
Jill had portabello mushroom quesadilla: flour tortilla, large sliced & sauteed portabello cap, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses. She loved it.
I was tempted to try the tamales but had "tres enchiladas" instead. Very happy. Three roast chicken enchiladas, one mild but tasty red sauce, one tangy tomatillo sauce, third with incrediblly long developing mole sauce. Rich chocolate and cinnamon upfront (maybe a touch too sweet), then unfolding layers of peppers. Neither a timid sauce, nor one that relied on fire to make its point. The heat grew over time but never became overpowering.
Surprisingly large menu for a small (about 35 seats) place. Besides all the usual Mexican choices, there are ten "chef's specials," including an adobo chicken burrito I can't wait to get back to try. Also burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and ribeye steak.
Four children's menu dishes are $3 each. Our son had the mac & cheese with cheddar, queso blanco, and taco sauce.
Full bar (good considering half-hour wait), cash only, dinner only. Take out available.
La Cocina Mexican Food, 53B East Central Avenue, Pearl River, NY (845) 732-9292.