Since opening its first location in Atlanta in 2000, Moe's Southwest Grill has expanded to more than 30 states. Each location features the same thing, though: Tex-Mex favorites such as burritos, tacos, and nachos prepared in front of your nose using ingredients such as cage-free chicken, grass-fed steak, and organic tofu. Complementing the casualness of the food is the casualness of the restaurant in general. The menu items are named after television show and movie characters and the kitchen staff greets each guest who walks or teleports through the door.
Cozumel Grill & Tequila Bar’s crafty chefs cull together spices, meats, and seafood to craft a menu of both classic and inventive Mexican eats. Diners can crisscross hands to share an adventurous appetizer of fried cactus strips ($10) or enjoy solo fare such as a jerk chicken quesadilla ($11). Patrons can take off their hockey helmets or at least lift the facemask to sink teeth into two tacos or one burrito weighed down by a choice of chicken ($10), beef ($10), shredded pork ($10), or steak ($11). For enchiladas, chefs reinforce two corn tortillas with one of five meaty fillings, paint on ranchero sauce, and add a final floor of cheese that bakes to melted gooeyness and pairs with an accompanying bed of red rice ($10–$11).
Inside the kitchen at Gramma Mora’s, cooks flip sizzling shrimp and assemble four-cheese enchiladas, preparing succulent entrees that earned the restaurant the title of Best Tex-Mex Eatery in Buffalo from the readers of Artvoice in 2011. Seated at tables inset with tile, diners can taste dishes made from century-old recipes passed down through the Mora family. A vibrant mural of a Mayan pyramid in a lush jungle decorates one wall, next to guests consuming pork smothered in green-chili sauce or steak chimichangas. Caramel-glazed flan and lime margaritas provide notes of sweetness for diners who otherwise would have had to carry scoops of ice cream to the table in their pockets.
Every item on Arriba Tortilla's inventive menu is made from scratch, borrowing from both traditional Mexican and contemporary Tex-Mex recipes. Customize a combination of crisp veggies, freshly grated cheese, and high-quality meats to create a fun Mexican pizza atop a toasty 12" tortilla crust (starting at $6.28). Or, apply your appetite's taste for design to a plate of one 8'' flour or two hard-shell tacos, selecting stuffing from savory options such as spicy chorizo ($5.57), beer-battered haddock ($5.33), steak ($6.29), and mahi-mahi ($6.89). Bellies boycotting carbs can opt for a serving of shrimp skewers with pineapple salsa, jalepeño jelly, and rice ($10.24) or make a carb compromise with a pepperjack-and-poblano-smothered salsa burger served on pita bread with fresh pico de gallo, lettuce, and sweet-potato fries ($9.63).
From the corner-shop comforts of their neighborhood haunt, the equatorial epicureans at Rosa's Legacy dish up a heritage-honoring host of toothsome Dominican
dishes. Flanked by a battalion of strategic sides, including hearty rice and beans and fried plantains, entrees such as the camarones a la creola (shrimp creole) ($14.95) and asopao de pollo (chicken soupy rice) ($14.95) wage a winning war against hunger and jerky chickens from neighboring islands. Let the robust taste of traditional rabo guisado (oxtail) ($11.95) whisk you away to the sweltering tropics where you can reach for [a quenching assist from traditional Caribbean coolers, including fruity tamarindo, creamy citrus Morir Soñando, or parcha juice–a passion-fruit nectar that will render you irresistible to passing pineapples ($2+).
What started as a single corner pizza shop has expanded into a dozen Just Pizza outposts that dish out over 75 varieties of pizzas. Offerings include innovative combos such as the chicken club with bacon and Virginia ham and the shrimp scampi with sweet peppers. Even classic recipes get a twist from surprising toppings. For example, the Hawaiian delights those expecting just ham and pineapple with maraschino cherries and sliced almonds. The rest of the menu features a smattering of subs and salads, as well as chicken wings glazed with interesting sauces such as blackberry bbq and spicy orange. And for the sophisticated palate, Just Pizza even offers a page on their website with suggestions for what wine and what formal bib goes best with each of their styles of pizza.