It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t like any Mexican food and the different flavors that come along with it. The perfect Mexican food should have the right balance of textures: deliciously seasoned meats, crisply fresh and roasted vegetables, with a balanced blend of spices to bring them all together, and that’s exactly what was on display at my lunch at Dos Rios Cantina.
If you’re at all familiar with Downtown Binghamton, you’re probably aware of Dos Rios. Conveniently located on 60 Court St., the cantina is known for its colorful decorations, eye-popping wall art and, of course, Mexican food. The murals on the walls inside, done in a mixed style of traditional Mexican folklore, Western cowboy aesthetics and hipster fashion, were created by local Binghamton artist Bruce Greig, whose work can be found all over the city. If you pass by any night, you’re certain to see the restaurant filled with customers, flashing lights and great music.
As my photographer and I walked in, we were enthusiastically greeted by co-owner and Binghamton alumnus Alex Jaffe, ‘12, who showed us to our seats and engaged in some light banter. Menus were passed around and drinks were ordered. This restaurant week, Dos Rios is offering a $25 prix fixe dinner menu which comes with the choice of one appetizer, one entree and one dessert.
I got the buffalo shrimp appetizer while my photographer opted for traditional chips and salsa. When the food arrived, I could tell by the looks of it that it was going to be great before I even dug in. The buffalo aroma filled the air and was perfect for a spice enthusiast like myself. The crunch of my fork into the battered shrimp was the second indicator I was in for a treat. The taste was just as good as everything before it, and I scarfed down the shrimp in seconds. The chips were good as well, paired with your everyday restaurant salsa. In addition to what we got, appetizers available included chips and guacamole and pozole.
Next came the main course. We got the chicken fajitas and the chicken burrito bowl smothered in queso, lime crema and pico de gallo. The burrito bowl with rice, lettuce, pickled shallots and pico de gallo was a great blend of flavors and textures. The fajitas arrived sizzling, chicken, onions, peppers and tomatoes all frying on a skillet, their various diverse flavors blending together. Assembled together with corn farrago, lime crema and tomatoes, the four flour tortillas made for a good mix. However, for a spice lover like me, I could have gone for more kick with the chicken. For my photographer who’s not a fan of spice, the food was just right. Other entrees included a Mexican-inspired Cobb salad, lobster tacos, carnitas tacos and carne asada.
For dessert, my photographer went with churros, and I got a personal favorite of mine, tres leches cake. Both were served with chocolate sauce and were perfect hits. The churros were exactly what you would want out of them: crispy and warm on the outside, doughy on the inside. The tres leches was good with an excellent frosting, but chewier than I was hoping for.
The service was excellent and the food was delicious. Vegetarian selections were present too. If you are over 21, the margaritas and tequila selection is a must-do. I would definitely recommend Dos Rios to everyone this Restaurant Week.