One of my ongoing battles is fighting for TQLA to get the respect it deserves despite its Washington Avenue location. I always wonder whether or not I should even mention it, but someone always makes a point of saying that they’d never go there because of the street it fronts. What a dumb, terrible way to go about making dining decisions. Especially considering that TQLA has no valet, but instead offers a secure — and free! — parking garage for its guests behind the restaurant, as well as a beautiful dining room with curvaceous copper sculptures and stately agave plants that make it equally attractive for date nights as it is for happy hours. Chef Tommy Birdwell’s new Southwestern/nuevo Tex-Mex menu is just as unexpected, filled with treasures such as blue corn-crusted Gulf oysters, pepita-studded salmon or duck tamales in a silky sweet potato masa. It’s also the only restaurant in town with a certified tequiler, so come prepared to broaden your horizons when it comes to TQLA’s namesake spirit.