Dinner at La Carnita’s John Street location is one big, delicious mess
La Carnita ★★½
106 John St., 647-348-1166
The third outpost of Andrew Richmond’s wildly popular chain bears much of the same trendy visual branding that embodies so many gentrified taco joints (stylized sugar skulls, a whole lotta neon), but the Financial District location seems more grown-up, if only because it’s not the size of a dressing room. The two-floor space fills up quickly with downtown diners keen on the tacos piled improbably high, making them impossible to eat with grace. Menu standards like fried chicken thighs dressed in shaved cabbage and dripping with honey, hot sauce and a creamy peanut mole are pleasurably crunchy. Squash quesadillas stuffed with three types of cheese, chopped flowers and pepitas are served alongside a mountain of cream whipped with butternut squash. Even the desserts are a delicious mess—the sugar-crusted tubes of fried churro dough that dribble cajeta, for example, or the overloaded paletas and ice cream cones supplied by Sweet Jesus, Carnita’s sister dairy bar in the same building.