I'm pretty sure that Mexican food isn't given the same "Smart Food" label as Seafood and Veggies, but it sure does make me feel smart. I feel smart when eating Mexican because I can usually get a great meal at a great price. I'm not talking about Taco Bell vs. Taco John's here (By the way, Taco Johns is better).
I'm talking about finding good, solid Tex-Mex food at a great price. (As a side note I have been told by many smart foodie types that the vast majority of all Mexican restaurants in America are really "Tex-Mex" places so I'll attach that label to anything that doesn't serve me solely tamales and tainted water).
I have found such a good deal place in Caliente Grille (900 W. 39th Street). This family run eatery is housed in the former Pangea spot along 39th Street. Granted, their web site is not good ( www.calientegrillekc.com). And the menu does not feature any amazing or unique take on traditional Tex-Mex fare. But it is good, solid food at a very inexpensive price point. On a recent mid-week lunch excursion to Caliente I was able to polish off a bowl of chips and salsa, two soft tacos (with a heaping side of sour cream), and two Bud Lights for the grand total of eight bucks!
Caliente makes me feel smart. It also makes me feel good when I sit at the bar and talk with the owners; a mother/daughter team with a strong work ethic trying to make a tough business location into a successful dining destination.
As I've always stated before I'm not a professional restaurant reviewer. I'm just a regular guy who knows what he likes in a dining experience. I like Caliente. Do you? Based on how many people are typically there when I visit the real question is probably whether you've even tried it.