Chefs use grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, and steroid-free pulled pork that hail from sustainable sources to craft a bounty of tortilla-wrapped treats that take their names from the likes of Caddyshack, Fletch, and Seinfeld. It's this dual mindset of serious food and irreverent attitude that tinges every one of the eatery's southwestern morsels, from the Art Vandalay burrito to the John Coctostan quesadilla. As the kitchen staff crafts their daily batch of guacamole to join the lineup of six zesty salsas, diners choose from a list of more than 20 ingredients to fill out the entree that will soon be conjured before their eyes. Because dishes are made to order, each finds easy customization for vegetarian, gluten free, and low-calorie diets, and the absence of microwaves, trans-fats, and MSG keep eats wholesome. Meanwhile, a complimentary accompaniment of chips and salsa turns portions into full meals faster than an industry-grade blow-up ray.
The dining room at La Sandia radiates warmth and energy from colorful paneled screens, intricate metallic ceiling tiles, rustic tables, and hardwood floors. Diners at La Sandia enjoy a fun, casual atmosphere with attentive service; the food at La Sandia enjoys an upscale preparation and indulgent treatment where the ingredients play center stage. Warming up the stage for your meal, tender avocado mashes selflessly into a spicy guacamole ($9.50), prepared tableside. Delight in a bountiful harvest of creamy roasted corn soup ($7) and huitlacoche-mushroom quesadillas ($8.50) as you settle in for the show. The corn tortillas, handcrafted from corn masa and cooked on a traditional Mexican griddle, headline the three beer-battered tilapia tacos with rice and beans ($14), and poblanos play versatile characters in chile relleno (battered poblano stuffed with three cheeses and sautéed veggies with refried beans, $13) and chicken mole poblano (with Mexican rice and fried plantains, $16.50). Slow-roasted chipotle barbecue ribs ($19.50) or grilled salmon (with mildly spiced citrus marinade, chile morita-tomatillo-mango salsa, and corn tamal, $18) invigorate the palate with rich flavors and textures that are sure to do a little crowd surfing as everyone at the table has a taste.
Chefs at On The Border sling out a menu of popular southwestern dishes including enchiladas, burritos, and mesquite-grilled fare made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients. Begin a meal with customizable guacamole made fresh at the table using two avocados and choice of tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, onions, and lime juice ($8.99). Dig into a house salad, crowned with corn, black beans, and tortilla strips ($4.69) or the jalapeño-barbecue salmon ($14.99), whose hotness draws inspiration from the fish that swim in active volcanoes. Mesquite-wood-grilled fajitas sizzle delicious secrets at diners with combinations ranging from monterey ranch chicken with bacon, pepper jack cheese, and ranch dressing ($14.99) to barbecue-and-jalapeño-glazed salmon with black beans and vegetables ($14.99). Plates of full-sized or mini tacos burst with simple, robust flavors, such as the brisket tacos ($11.49) or the mesquite-grilled chicken tacos with fried onion rings ($10.99), which arrive with a red chili sauce for dipping or adding zing to boot spurs.
Sauca Grill gathers the authentic cuisines and hand-crafted flavors of street-side food vendors from India, South America, and Europe all into one worldly menu. Duos or quartets can play pre-meal games of patty-cake amid festive music before choosing from eight vibrant combo dishes, each tangoing with one small side and a beverage. The Mexicali fish-taco platter (an $11 value) houses the bold border-city flavors of grilled fish somersaulting in a sea of mango pico de gallo, cilantro, and chili sauce, and the Medi veggie plate (a $10 value) teems with playful hummus, kalamata olive tapenade, saffron rice, and tomatoes drizzled with yogurt sauce. Oink in unison for pork Bahn Mi (an $11 value), a sapid congregation of Vietnamese-style pork and pickled veggies in a peanut and Thai coconut sauce. For culinary accompaniment, guests can pick their side from a hunger-fighting team of zesty dishes such as charred-curry potato salad or sea-salt yucca fries. All combo cuisines are served on a choice of heated griddled flatbread or a bed of saffron rice.
Beyond Tequila Grande's vibrant, kitsch-rich dining room, chef and owner Renu crafts Mexican dishes that have earned accolades for flavor and authenticity from publications such as the Washington Times. A far cry from her native Indian cuisine, the chef carefully incorporates signature Central American flavors such as mango, roasted chilies, and habaneros across the menu.
The hacienda-style building's bright wall-size murals evoke an idyllic farmland brought to life, depicting the agricultural practices and accidental kitchen fires that gave birth to the distinctive cooking style. An outdoor patio adds fresh air to the list of amenities to be enjoyed, sheltered from the sun by umbrellas and the shade of blossom-bearing trees.
Tomatillo Taqueria's menu features quickly crafted Tex-Mex lunch creations. A burrito ($6), three white corn tortilla tacos ($6), or a single taco ($3) can be filled with a bevy of fresh ingredient combinations. Choose from meats including carnitas (naturally raised pork), chicken, or barbacoa (beef rubbed and braised), or vegetarian ingredients such as roasted peppers, onions, black beans, and fresh guacamole. Soft drinks are $2 each, and sides such as chips and salsa ($3) or chips and guac ($4) complement the main course with added Tex-Mex taste. Tomatillo Taqueria serves midday Southwestern fare from a window with friendly customer service, and is great for a quick, satisfying meal.