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OS Reviews: Carter’s Table

Move over, Yallah. There’s a new taco joint in town.

Earlier this month, we were delighted to learn that downtown farmers market staple Carter’s Table would be opening up a permanent location in State College. After demand for his tacos went through the (figurative) roof, owner Shawn Carter knew he had to expand.

Instead of waiting for the bi-weekly farmers market, folks can now grab a bite from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Carter’s Table’s brick-and-mortar restaurant is located at 407 E. Beaver Ave., right next door to D.P. Dough.

Naturally, our staff headed on over to see how Carter’s Table stacks up against other fan favorites downtown.

Colleen Nersten: Asian 5 Spice Beef Quesadilla

Wanting to be ~different~, I ordered a quesadilla with beef, shredded cabbage, pickled carrots and peppers, sriracha mayo, and chili garlic sauce. It was fantastic compared to its late-night competitors, which justified the $13 price tag for me. The flavor was complex and had a little kick.

This ‘dilla was thick and a tad messy, but that’s what napkins are for, I suppose. I’d rather deal with that than have them skimp on the fillings. My life would significantly improve if this place stayed open past midnight on the weekends, but for now, I will certainly be back for lunch or dinner.

Anna Wiggins: Roasted Pork Tacos

Oh, Carter’s Table. I finally understand what all the hype is about.

I ordered three roasted pork tacos on flour tortillas. Dressed with a “less is more” mentality, the taco trio came with pickled onions, jalapeño cilantro crema, cotija cheese, and of course, roasted pork. I’ll cut to the chase — these were utterly delicious. The pork was flavorful and savory, and the jalapeño cilantro was creamy, almost sweet, with a level of spice that complimented the flavor rather than overtaking your tastebuds. I will say that I was a bit nervous about the crema because cilantro and I don’t get along. However, I couldn’t taste it at all, which was a pleasant surprise.

I really appreciated that these tacos had only a few ingredients. It allowed the pork and the jalapeño crema to be the stars of the show. Carter’s Table, I will definitely be back when I’m in need of a taco fix.

Olivia Damato: Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos

I got the grilled chicken tacos. I had the option of a corn or flour taco, so I obviously had to try both. The pickled onions, jalapeño cilantro crema, and cotija cheese added such a savory flavor to the chicken. Although it was $10 for two smaller-sized tacos, I was very content with the homemade taste it gave.

Ashley Connington: Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

I love a good quesadilla, and this did not disappoint. My food came out really quickly and the workers were all so nice. The cheese and chicken mixed nicely, as they always should. I could still taste all the flavors in the chicken, and it wasn’t dry, so I didn’t need any extra sauce. The quesadilla did come with a green sauce in it. I’m not sure what it was, but it was so good and added more flavor. It also came with fresh lime on the side, which always makes food better. For $13, I had high expectations, but they were fulfilled. I’ll be making more trips in the future. 

Evan Halfen: Roasted Pork And Lamb Barbacoa

Right when I got my tacos, I immediately knew I was in for a treat. I got one roasted pork taco on a corn tortilla and one lamb barbacoa taco on a flour tortilla with two hot sauces on the side. Although both were full of flavor and equally savory, the roasted pork taco was definitely my favorite of the two. Both types of meat were cooked very well and weren’t anything close to dry. The chipotle sauce was a little too spicy for my liking but wasn’t too overbearing. The lime on the side and the jalapeno cilantro crema combined were nice touches and added more ~zing~ to the tacos. I will definitely be back for more!

Grace Cunningham: Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos & Black Bean Taco

I opted to try the grilled chicken tacos, as well as a black bean taco. Although both were great, I definitely preferred the chicken tacos — they just seemed to be more flavorful. For me, what really made these tacos were the pickled onions, which added just the right amount of tang and crunch to the meal.

These tacos are a bit pricier than other downtown taco joints like Yallah and Lupita’s, but they tasted so fresh that I didn’t even mind. The restaurant is still new, but I’d love to see sides like chips and guacamole, rice, and corn added to the menu in the future. I’ll definitely be going back!

Keeley Lamm: Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

Mr. Carter, I would die for your quesadillas. If I tried a taco, I think I would die for your tacos, too.

I was a little hesitant to drop $13 on a quesadilla with no sides or drink, but I quickly learned that the price was well worth it. The chili flavor was a splendid infusion to add a tad of kick without overpowering the other flavors. Every spice, sauce, and flavor was perfectly intentional, and I can absolutely see myself coming back to Carter’s Table for a quick bite. It easily soared to the top of my downtown taco rankings.

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