Bigger and better 

Cotija’s Mexican Grill.

NACHOS NATCH: And other Mexican favorites are at the expanded Cotija's.
  • NACHOS NATCH: And other Mexican favorites are at the expanded Cotija's.

Cotija's, which to our way of thinking is twice as good as most Tex-Mex restaurants in Central Arkansas, thanks to the Alvarez family's touch, is now twice as large, having knocked out a wall in its Louisiana street restaurant to expand into a storefront to the south.

Here's what knocked us out on our most recent trip there: The fact that you can get a meal here that, should you be strong enough to ignore the other fattening things on your plate, is pretty healthy: The carne asada burrito.

We didn't order it ourselves, being intent on gorging on a huge plate of alambre de camarones, helpfully called alambre de shrimp on the menu. But our companion shared a portion of her order: A soft flour tortilla tucked around slices of grilled sirloin doused in pico de gallo. It was simple and well-seasoned, with a low guilt factor to boot.

The shrimp dish was another thing. The shrimpers (bigger than popcorn-sized and plentiful) were grilled and mixed with the Alvarez's famous melted white cheese and pico de gallo. The guilt factor was high, but the dish was delicious. Both concoctions succeeded partially on account of the fresh cilantro so generously applied, both as garnish and ingredient.

The alambre — a lunch special like the burrito — also came with a dollop of fresh guacamole, a choppy rather than pureed version of refried brown beans (the way we like it) and seasoned rice. We were as hungry as a caballo and that will sometimes make an ordinary meal seem extra special. But it seemed to us that our meal at Cotija's, where we have dined before with fine but not spectacular results, was on a higher level than usual. Perhaps keeping strictly weekday lunch hours (it was more ambitious when it opened) has energized the Alvarez kitchen. Whatever. The grub was good.

Happily, Cotija's extra room means you are no longer backing your chair into the stranger behind you or tripping the unfailingly polite waitresses with your purse or hearing things not meant for your ears. Actually, as to the latter: It's quite loud now in Cotija's, what with the additional concrete, so you may have a hard time hearing what is meant for your ears. Never mind.

We've mentioned but two of the 27 lunch specials on the menu, which stuffs beef (ground or sliced), chicken (shredded or strips), pork, shrimp and even liver into tacos (soft and crispy), chalupas, fajitas and enchiladas. You can get chili rellenos, huevos, nachos and even a tropical fruit salad. A la carte are tortas, tamales, taquitos. Veggie chimichangas. Mole sauce. Hamburgers. On and on it goes. There's flan and fried ice cream for dessert, but does anyone actually ever get that far in a Mexican restaurant?

If all you want is a snack at your desk, you can grab a big bag of chips and salsa to go. All other to-go orders include them, too.

We're glad Cotija's has grown, even if it means our own personal expansion. We could, of course, just eat the burrito and leave everything else on the plate untouched. Sure we could.



Mexican Grill

406 S. Louisiana


Quick Bite

Don't fill up on the chips. It will be hard, because the salsa is good and fresh (though it could be spicier), but don't do it. You'll end up having to skip the refried beans if you do, or the rice, and you don't want to do that. Easier said than done, of course.


11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Other info

No alcohol, credit cards accepted.




Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Dining Review

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation