NOM Tequila Grill  
450 E. Harbor Blvd.

It’s hard out here for a high-end Mexican restaurant, what with a mom-and-pop shop on just about every block, at least downtown, so kudos for NOM Tequila Grill for giving it a shot in the location formerly inhabited by C-Street Bar and Grill.

If it wasn’t for a day of bingeing at a baby shower, we’d have ordered food, too, but as it was, we were in the throes of regret from overindulgence and decided to stick to the cocktail menu — not a poor decision on any occasion, actually.

NOM Tequila Grill takes its name from the Norma Oficial Mexicana, a set of Mexican regulations that determine how tequila can be processed, and it’s serious business. There’s even a Tequila Regulatory Council that has been known to fly lawyers out to distant parts of the world to challenge the use of the name tequila.

NOM is, first and foremost, true to its name. A long list of high-end tequilas greets you on one side of the drinks menu, to be served individually or via a flight of three for $15; or if you’re celebrating, a flight of three top-shelf tequilas for $55.

Cocktails are the way to my heart, however, and nothing beats a good margarita, any time of the day, any day of the year. NOM’s signature is a little on the sour side with fresh lime and orange juice, agave nectar and El Jimador Silver ($9.50).

The Spicy Pinna is a nice alternative, with Herradura Silver, pineapple and orange juice plus the addition of Ancho Reyes liqueur, an ancho chile-infused spirit ($10).

We noticed several couples looking in at us from the plaza as we enjoyed our margaritas, not understanding that the entrance is through the Crowne Plaza lobby. Signage will help.

Once inside, you’ll find that the interior is gorgeous with dark red walls and hip lighting, the drinks are large and tasty, and the chorizo and bacon bean dip that accompanies the chips is to die for. NOM, at only 2 months old, is a welcome addition to the beach, for fans of tequila and a style of Mexican food not found elsewhere in the city.  

Chris O’Neal’s goal is to save up for NOM’s $55 “Million Dollar” margarita. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @agentoneal.