In this review I will be concentrating on "up-scale" Mexican, which in Nashville means, entrees more than $6.25. These are the restaurants you will want to visit if you feel stimulated, maybe by your tax refund check that just came in the mail, or maybe just because LIFE IS GOOD.
Now, I will not be including Lime in this review. Why do you ask? Because this review isn't for the fusion types and it certainly isn't for paying for chips and salsa. This is for Mexican food, as in, Santa Anna riding towards the Alamo with a plate of hot fajitas in one hand and a tamale in the other people. Get with the program.
The grade is based on the same as the burrito review: 1) Value; 2) Taste; 3) Atmosphere
Rosepepper - F Overrated. Say it with me now O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D! (dun, dun, dundundun) The margarita's are the best thing there, then the outdoor patio. The taste is "eh", mostly because it is overrated. If you happen to stumble upon Rosepepper, you might be pleasantly surprised. But most people do not stumble upon it. The atmosphere is okay and the wait staff is too hipster for my Mexican restaurant taste. If I want hipster, I'll go to Fido or Bongo Java or watch the tweens walk by at Belmont. **DO NOT GO ON A WEEKEND NIGHT.** Here is my theory. People think it is good because they wait to be seated for an easy hour and a half and by that point, I would eat a CARDBOARD BOX. So, yes, I know some people will majorly disagree with me and I am sorry to offend.
La Paz - C The food is good and the atmosphere is good but it is a tad bit on the expensive side for my pocket book with entrees averaging $12 to $13. The "C" is simply because the value is on the high side for this restaurant. If you are willing to spend a bit more on dinner, then this would be a B+. Okay, maybe I am not being completely fair to La Paz. It is good but somehow the Green Hills location is really throwing me off. Es no bueno. As in, snooty Mexican? I don't know, I just can't upgrade it.
Cozymel's - B+ This is a chain but it is pretty good if you can't get your Tex-Mex in Texas. Like all chain restaurants, it lacks a certain "umph" but if you can get past that, I think you will enjoy it. The food is good and fresh tasting, none of that Mexican that sits in a disgusting vat of grease. The "+" in the grade is for being a chain, yet being delicioso despite the chainy-ness.
Rosario's - A- Don't get the two R's mixed up. Rosario's is definitely the better of the two. The value is good and you get 10% off if you have a AAA membership. The happy hour is a pretty good deal as well. The taste is pretty decent. And the atmosphere is nice with a relaxing patio and a very friendly staff. I love friendly staff. Okay, it would probably be a "B+" but everyone there is so darn nice. It keeps me going back...that and I live dos segundos away. And they have cactus as a garnish.
El Chico - A El Chico? What? I have never heard of that. You know why? The location is TERRIBLE. The atmosphere is "eh", I don't even remember a patio and I certainly wouldn't sit on it if they had one but the food is good. (Picture a view of Murfreesboro Road right before you hit Briley from downtown direction...yea...yuck) The "A" rating is because it is a little gem that most people don't know about. But take my word for it, the food is good and the chips are so nice and thin and crispy. How chips should be. I could write an entire blog on tortilla chips. But alas, El Chico has the best chips out of all of these places. Chili's comes in a close second but they aren't Mexican.
Cantina Laredo - Hesitantly anticipating at least an A - Click on this link and I dare you to TRY not to salivate. OH. MY. GOSH. Okay, straight talk time, this is a chain. However, most Nashvillians will not know this because they live under a restaurant hole-sized rock. Okay, to be honest, both of my parents were in the restaurant business and I am from Texas which has pretty much every chain imaginable so I have a leg up. Regardless, forget that this is a chain. You would never know. All of the Cantina's I have been to are seriously muy bueno. The location is set to open soon and I hope it does not disappoint.
I am sure I am leaving some out, I didn't even really get to the suburbs but most of those will fall into my next category, I Like My Mexican Real Thick and Juicy (so find that juicy double...anyone? Bueller? no, okay.).