Descending a sky-blue staircase and entering the dim basement dining room of the Twisted Lizard, it's easy to imagine that you've just entered a speakeasy. The window-less room of barstools and high tables is decorated with tiny red and white lights, adding to the hideaway atmosphere; the friendly wait staff and crowded weekend nights will leave you feeling like you're in on some grand secret. Of course, here you're more likely to feast on enchiladas and margaritas than bathtub gin, but don't let that slow your imagination.
The Twisted Lizard offers a full menu of Tex-Mex eats, ranging from chimichangas to sincronizadas (layered flour tortillas filled with refried black beans and your choice of meat or veggies and topped with Chihuahua cheese). The fajitas, made with veggies, steak, chicken or seafood, are by far the most popular item on the menu and can be ordered as full or half orders. Our tip: Order as the staff does, and request the surf and turf fajitas (skirt steak and shrimp).
If you're looking for lip-smacking munchies to accompany your drinks, the Lizard Combo ($10.50) serves two or three happy drinkers and comes with baked and broiled Chihuahua cheese, barbecue wings, spiced potato flautas and molletes. Speaking of drinks, the Twisted Lizard carries nine different types of margaritas, more than 20 brands of tequila and a full range of Mexican beers and microbrews. A scant $3 will buy you a bottle of Carts Blanca and Bohemia on Monday and Wednesday and any Ketel One drink on Sunday.
For those wanting to dine in the light of day, a festive patio sits along Sheffield Avenue, tucked out of sight of the busier Armitage traffic. An awning and outdoor heaters should keep diners warm until early December.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Rockwood