Every day at all of El Nopal’s locations, cooks whip up fresh batches of salsa, chips, and beans. The sauces and sides accent chicken or beef chimichangas, handmade tamales, and nachos smothered in cheese. All El Nopal locations offer complimentary chips and salsa with every meal, and some locations have outdoor seating areas. Performances by live bands at select locations serve as a pleasant distraction from meals, unlike a judge with highfalutin ideas about not eating in court.
Blue Agave Cantina and Tequila Bar serves a menu specializing in marinated meats and margaritas. Guests unable to domesticate their fire hydrant can cool off with a bowl of guacamole, prepared to order from fresh avocados, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime ($6). Entrust hands to tacos, served with salsa, lime, cilantro, and onions on corn tortillas, with your choice of steak, shredded or marinated pork, or chicken ($4 for two). Diners licensed to operate silverware can take a test run with the red-chili and shredded-pork carnitas platter ($11) or the alambres, marinated steak topped with cheese, peppers, and onions, served on a hot skillet ($16).
Jerry's Restaurant opened in 1961, and since then it's served family-style meals, which incorporate some of the 15+ vegetables the kitchen uses. The team cooks breakfast, lunch, dinner, and whatever meal humans think up next. Their food ranges from cheesy spaghetti and lemon-pepper chicken entrees to potato skin and onion ring entrees. Jerry's serves the popular J-Boy sandwich—a double-decker cheeseburger with a special sauce—and even a hot fudge cake.
The flavors found in El Chico’s enchiladas and fajitas are a tasty testament to what the Mexican eatery does best: cultivating a menu that bustles with authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. Fajitas provide a savory meal for two, with flour tortillas embracing veggies and chicken, beef, or a combination of the two with the gusto of a bear giving a bear hug. Or opt to reward tongues with enchiladas, which accentuate a variety of proteins with slick coats of cheese and sauce. The spicy beef of Mama’s Favorite enchiladas plays nicely with the fiery nature of chili con carne, and the Top Shelf fajita enchiladas capture rare glimpses of grilled fajita steak and ranchera sauce frolicking on the plate. Avocado enchiladas are also on hand for sets of vegetarian cravings.
The spirited tunes of live mariachi music occasionally float through the dining room at Sierra Fria, fostering a fitting atmosphere for the menu of authentic Mexican cuisine. Chefs embellish traditional recipes with fresh toppings of avocado and pico de gallo to beget an extensive roster of classic fare, such as burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas. They construct an ample array of seafood dishes with shrimp, salmon, and tilapia alongside steak and chicken specialties blanketed in a rainbow of spicy sauces, while bartenders mix fruity margaritas and dole out domestic and imported brews. At the West Tiverton Way location, exposed-brick walls neighbor colorful murals of matadors and pastoral scenes which spill onto booths, tabletops, and plates' dreams.
Chef Rafael Hernandez creates a shareable menu of fusion tapas paired with tempting drinks in Habana Blues's new location. Shareable small plates such as sushi-grade tuna tartare marinated in sesame oil and crème fraiche make taste buds swoon while diners battle their companions for temporary custody of datiles rellenos—dates stuffed with goat cheese and Spanish chorizo, drizzled with smoked honey, and wrapped in bacon. A trio of black bean, garbanzo, and roasted-red-pepper hummus slathers wedges of pita bread accompanied by olives and red onions. Guests can select a sippable treat from a menu of sangria, wines, beers, and cocktails such as the sumptuous coco martini with vanilla vodka, coconut cream, and nutmeg, or make a filibustering toast to the freedom of speech with a classic Cuba Libre.