El Paso Cafe

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

The buzz: Open since 1992, this friendly neighborhood spot sticks to the Tex-Mex basics and handles them well. Families, happy-hour hunters and fans of spicy food come here for the large platters of chile-packed delicacies. The food is happily above-average, but after a margarita or two, you may not even pay attention.

On your plate: Portions are generous and diverse. Giant chimichangas reach beyond standard fillings of chicken and beef to include a crab and shrimp version, while tacos al carbon, flautas and the platters provide fare to feed most diners for at least two days. Crisp and soft tacos, enchiladas, chile rellenos and burritos are also available a la carte for those who like to mix and match. Desserts are fairly standard, with tres leches cake and a banana cheesecake-filled pastry among the few choices.

Nice to know: There's a lengthy list of specialty margaritas and plenty of tequilas to choose from, so find a designated driver and brace yourself for some potent liquid accompaniments to the meal. Many nights feature the music of a mariachi band.

-- Erin Hartigan (April 24, 2012)