Episode 14: Las Cazuelas Mexican Grill
Address: 4114 Nolensville Pike
Honestly, I don't even know if I want to tell you guys about this one. I mean, sure, you're all chill, but what if you tell your friends and they tell their friends and then those friends aren't chill? My obligations as a journalist and my desire to keep Las Cazuelas on the down-low are at war — it's not that I don't love you guys, it's just that, well, I don't want to you blowing up my spot. A huge part of LC's appeal — besides the food, of course — is that it's really, really chill, and if it all of a sudden it turns into a in-town-tourist spot a la La Hacienda, that would be a damn shame. So don't go there. OK, go there. I love you guys, and I guess I can share. I guess — but it's against my better judgment.
Las Cazuelas is located next to the post office just south of Harding in a nondescript little strip mall — if you haven't noticed it, I'm not terribly surprised. The sign and the storefront don't scream "Spacious dining room! Delish food!" — they're small and a little worn — but the dining room is bigger than you'd expect, and the food is some of the most reliably tasty Mexican you're going to find in town. They've always got futbol on the really-fucking-big-screen — unless there's a Titans game on — the waitstaff are prompt and friendly, and the atmosphere is always relaxed ...
Gawd, why am I telling you all this? Don't ruin it, please. I beg of you.
My wife and I have eaten our way around the menu — we're at LC enough that our waitress knows our beer order — and we have yet to be disappointed. My much-better half loves their enchiladas, I'm partial to their burrito al carbon, the carnitas, and last week their chimichangas were a life-saving, post-family-tragedy meal. (I mean, the beer helped, but it was really the chimichangas that soothed my soul.) The rice is always perfectly cooked, the vegetables always fresh, the meat always cooked and seasoned just the way it should be — there's not a lot flash, but there's a comforting level of consistency that makes for a great neighborhood haunt.
Also — and this is a huge one for me, seeing as how I'm Nashville's second-best music critic — Las Cazuelas is usually playing contemporary Latin music. I know most folks don't choose their eateries based on the soundtrack, and I'm not trying to talk shit about norteño and Latin/Mexican music, but if I can eat a good meal and find new sounds, I'm the happiest boy on earth.
And contemporary Latin music nullifies tourist vibes and gives the space a little more energy, more vitality. I don't feel like I'm being pandered to with an Authentic Mexican ExperienceTM. I feel like most of the staff would rather listen to contemporary music. And if the staff's happy, it's a much better experience for everyone.
So yeah, go to Las Cazuelas, but please, please, keep it on the DL.