This tiny spot was once the Blue Goose—now it's just the Goose. Why? Because it doesn't mess with Texas lawyers.

It doesn't mess with Texas at all, serving up instead the Hatch-heavy cuisine of New Mexico. And amid a new crop of New Mexican spots, the Goose is the most ambitious without sacrificing the food's casual flavor.

The Hatch chile burger, smothered in cheddar cheese that leaks out onto the plate, is American excess that reaches bold new heights in both savor and goop. Not just the cheese but the burger itself melts into impossible richness.

It also coats your fingers, but no worries: The dish comes with a wet wipe wrapped in the American flag. The burrito ($12.50) comes equally stuffed with Hatch heat and flavor, and is equally overwhelming in its excess. But for the most intense and rewarding flavors, go for tacos, $7.50 for a pair and wrapped in flavorful house corn tortillas.

Of the current taco crop, the best are the pork belly and chevre—a tender-on-tender combo that melts under poblano crema and sweet onion—and the citric carne adobada.

The Goose's beef brisket currently has a salt problem when paired with equally salty cotija cheese, so avoid it on both the enchilada and an otherwise stellar taco menu. Get your salt on the rim of a margarita instead.

Photo: Kayla Sprint
Photo: Kayla Sprint

Pro tip: Daily drink specials may include niceties like serrano-spiked melon margaritas, but the prickly pear is always available and should be the first taste on your tongue when you arrive: sweet and naggingly singular.

GO: 2725 SE Ankeny St., 235-2222. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 5 pm-midnight Friday and Saturday. $$.