Taco Bell can’t fill you up like this

Blue Iguana165 S. West Temple533-8900U-Discount: NoFour-and-a-half out of five plates (food)Four out of five stars (ambiance)$10-15 per person

No matter how good their food is, some restaurants just have an ambiance that, from the moment you walk through the door, comes across as, well, unfriendly. Stuffy. Just a little?cold.

You know the type.

The decor is all about clean lines and sharp contrast, the lighting is dim, the waiters are a little rude and, if the whole restaurant could be summed up in one dish, that dish would be a slab of pt on a sleek, modern plate, drizzled dramatically with some sort of elegant black sauce and garnished with five separate herbs and a kumquat.

And sprinkled with just the right amount of finely aged pecorino-romano cheese.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that-I mean, those places do have excellent food.

But some places, like Blue Iguana, manage to serve up decidedly un-snobbish meals that are just as mouthwatering in an environment that’s so much warmer, so much friendlier and so much more fun.

If you could sum up Blue Iguana in just one dish, it would definitely be the veggie nachos, one hell of an appetizer composed of a massive pile of corn chips literally smothered in black beans, cheese, olives, onions, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, sour cream, guacamole and jalapeos. It’s rich and hearty, it’s colorful, and it’s bursting with zesty Mexican flavor, it’s enormous and it possesses an incredibly lively, cheerful and charismatic personality.

Seriously, you could make a meal out of these nachos. And I don’t see why you shouldn’t-they’re damned good.

But if you want the entire Blue Iguana experience, you should probably indulge in an entre as well, and, luckily, there’s probably not a single one on the menu that has the potential to disappoint.

Whether you like quesadillas, tamales, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, moles, chimichangas, fajitas, tostadas, mariscos (seafood) or vegetarian, Blue Iguana promises to deliver an oversized mountain of vivid, authentically Mexican food that will both wow you and stuff you.

ALL the way.

No, I mean it-you might, ah, need to take a trip to the restroom in the middle of your meal to?you know?clear out some room. You know.

Blue Iguana offers a special dish, called the burrito grande, which is “well over a pound” of beef, chicken, Chile Verde, rice and beans wrapped up together and drenched in Spanish sauce. Since this is such a colossally huge burrito, Blue Iguana gives you a free dessert if you can finish it. Desserts include flan, fried ice cream and xango (Mexican cheesecake).

So, if you think you can consume an elephantine burrito, I suggest coming hungry and, ah, following my above suggestion.

You know.

But if you’re not quite that daring (read: crazy), the chicken burrito is an excellent way to go. The tortilla is filled with juicy, flavorful shredded chicken and served with rice, beans and a mini salad on the side. The rice is pretty much your typical Spanish rice (and the salad is basic), but the beans boast an unparalleled creaminess. They’re very mild, which, when they come alongside a spicy dish, is more than welcome. Not that this dish is spicy, but the beans graciously come with almost every dish on the menu, including the spiciest of them all, the moles.

Moles (pronounced MOLE-ays) are spicy Mexican sauces made out of such widely varied ingredients as red, green or habaneras chiles, vegetables, pine nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and chocolate. Yes, chocolate. The negro and pablano moles may be sweet, but they definitely can set your mouth on fire.

Hence the beans. You might want more beans.

A much milder, but equally delicious, option is the guacamole tacos. This dish consists of two tacos filled with an amazingly fresh and delectable guacamole (some of the best in the city), lettuce and a generous layer of cheese. And, of course, the rice, beans and mini salad. The guac tac (as I call it) is a very simple, uncomplicated meal, but the Blue Iguana executes it perfectly, yielding a satisfaction that many fancier restaurants can’t achieve.

But if you can’t decide between several dishes, you might want to order from the “combinacines” section of the menu, which includes such combinations as the Chile Verde burrito, beef tostada and beef taco and the chile relleno, cheese enchilada, beef flauta, beef taco and beef tostada.

There’s really no need to choose just one mouthwatering Mexican dish when you can get several all in one, right?

Just like there’s really no need to go to a stuffy, overpriced restaurant when you can relax in a fun, comfortable, colorful place like Blue Iguana.

Taco Bell may be even more relaxed, but I assure you, the food doesn’t compare, not only when it comes to flavor, freshness and authenticity, but also when it comes to filling you up.

And I mean all the way.