Tenoch Mexican Grill

A Pioneer Square taqueria that transcends its own healthfulness.

At Tenoch Mexican Grill, named for an Aztec leader, reddish walls, orange floors, and a bustling lunchtime crowd will warm you, while burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas will fill you to the brim. The focus here is health and tradition; Tenoch's menu brags that the cooks use no lard and opt for long preparation methods (I guess that means it's slow fast food?). After my vegetarian bowl ($6.25), which housed chipotle-spiced potatoes, rice, pinto beans, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream, I was bursting at the seams. I thought the smoky flavor was fantastic; too bad the rice was dry and there were just too many beans. My lunch date tried three corn-tortilla tacos ($6.55) with three different meats: puerco en pasilla (pork in a garlic, tomatillo, and dried chile sauce), pollo en pipian (chicken with a sauce of chiles, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and spices), and pisinan roast (beef cooked with dry red chiles, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, and spices). He thought the meats—especially the puerco—were tender and richly flavored. His only complaint was that nonmeat toppings such as shredded lettuce and sour cream were too generous and distracting. A simple cilantro sprig and little fresh salsa would've been just fine. All in all, though, we'll trek to Tenoch again for a taste of Mexican with a side of history. MOLLY LORI

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