Las Brasas Mesquite Grill is an attractive lunch and dinner spot in a shopworn stretch of East 22nd Street near Tucson Boulevard.
Its menu and recipes reflect the taqueria tradition owner Anna Leticia Calvillo experienced in Mexico.
Once inside, bright colors and wall art combined with lots of wood - wooden window shutters, big, split-log tables and imported Mexican rustic wooden chairs - give the place a distinctive style for a bargain-priced establishment. It helps soften the blow of Styrofoam plates and spork tableware.
You place your order at the counter and then find a seat - though it can fill up at lunch.
Las Brasas'La Torta Sandwich ($6.99) starts with basic good ingredients - a slightly sweet Telera bread bun, toasted and filled, in my case, with finely chopped carne seca, or a choice of grilled chicken, adobada (marinated pork), birria (shredded beef) or tilapia. From there, you can make as much of it as you want with a wide variety of fresh ingredients from the condiment bar (salsas, onions, sliced cucumbers, etc.).
The Sonoran hot dog and taco combination plate ($5.99) was a big success. The competition is stiff in this, the Red Zone of the Sonoran Desert's long-running indigenous wiener war. Every guy with a grill and a parking space thinks he's the Bobby Flay of Sonoran weenies.
But Las Brasas stands with the best of them. The humble sausage was tasty on its own, not some sawdust and food coloring faux-meat tube steak, and wrapped in bacon and grilled perfectly.
For the full Under 30 review, see Thursday's Caliente.