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Chicken flautas on the lunch menu at La Fisheria

Before American-style fast food joints invaded Mexico, there was comida corrida—and, thankfully, in most places, there still is. Literally translated, it means "food on the run," though you're typically sitting down for this quick midday meal in a little mom-and-pop shop where you'll typically get some soup, a main course of some kind (maybe milanesas one day, carne guisada with tortillas the next), a small dessert and aguas frescas to wash it all down. In Mexico, this sort of homecooked lunch may run you 40 to 50 pesos, or about $2.50. In Houston, you'll pay a little bit more.

It used to be that Cuchara served the only upscale Mexican-style comida corrida in town (the meal is rough-and-tumble and $7.99 at Taqueria DF in Spring Branch), but now you can add La Fisheria to that short list. One of the subjects of this month's restaurant review (the other being Edgar's Hermano, another interesting Mexican dining destination downtown) by our dining editor, Alice Levitt, La Fisheria has transformed over the years from a celebrity chef-run hotspot in the Heights specializing in fiery ceviches to a more homespun, low-key version of its former self, now located just off Market Square Park downtown.

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Also included: chips and salsa, naturally

And while it's not 50-pesos-cheap, the $12 lunch at La Fisheria could be considered a bargain version of the $15 meal at Cuchara. Though you don't get unlimited refills of aguas frescas at La Fisheria, you do get ample sides of creamy refried beans and tomato-sauced rice with your main course. This week, mine was an order of five chicken flautas in a robust red chile sauce, with a salad in a chile-lime vinaigrette and a small flan to finish.

What La Fisheria calls its "Fonda Daily Menu" is served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the $12 menu changes daily. And fortunately, one thing always seems guaranteed: finding street parking on Milam between Commerce and Franklin. It's like they knew you were coming...

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