As News Editor, I rarely have the opportunity to write articles in the first person, much less articles where I get to share my own personal experiences and opinions, so when I heard the Dos Rios Cantina slot in our Restaurant Week review was open, I immediately signed up. I was accompanied by my good friend Joe, the Sports Editor. We have both been to Dos Rios Cantina before and definitely enjoy it as a place to come for dinner and drinks, but going at 5 p.m. this time in order to write a review was a completely different experience for both of us.
The first thing that made an impression on both of us was the service. Our waitress immediately offered us multiple suggestions for appetizers and main courses, which we gladly took. Afterward, the manager came over to greet us and ask if we needed anything, which was greatly appreciated. This type of service is what makes Dos Rios Cantina, even with its large space, neon lights and contemporary music, feel welcoming and comfortable, like a small family restaurant from back home.
For the first course, I ordered the avocado fries with a side of lime aioli. The avocado slices themselves were incredibly crispy and the batter they were fried in had a slightly salty taste, but the flavor of the avocado was largely lost. On the other hand, the lime aioli was incredible and completely elevated the dish. It had a tart but creamy flavor, and I am not ashamed to say that I finished the entirety of the ramekin of aioli — even after I ran out of avocado slices!
Joe ordered the elote, which instead of being served on the cob, arrived in a bowl. The corn was topped with cilantro, chipotle aioli and cotija cheese and was eaten with a spoon. I personally thought the elote was amazing, and the spices in the dish paired perfectly with the cheese. I’m not sure what it is, but Dos Rios Cantina is doing something incredible with their aiolis, so if you’re a fan, I would definitely recommend any dish that comes with one.
For the second course, both Joe and I ordered the steak burrito, as recommended by our waitress. The burrito came with homemade tortilla chips, which were missing some sort of dipping sauce but were seasoned with spices, incredibly crispy and honestly amazing on their own. The burrito itself was great, and I would heavily recommend ordering it with refried beans, which I added. The beans made sure that the tortilla and rice didn’t dry out the burrito and paired well with the steak, which was grilled just right.
For dessert, I ordered the churro whereas Joe ordered the tres leche cake. The churro was coated in sugar, but the sweetness did not stop the notes of cinnamon and orange from making a welcome appearance. It was served with an amazing chocolate sauce, which was surprisingly rich and bitter, and perfectly offset the sweetness of the churro. Much like with the lime aioli, I may have finished the contents of this ramekin after we ran out of churro. The cake, on the other hand, was undoubtedly sweet, as expected with a tres leche cake. The real selling point of the dessert was its texture, which was perfectly moist, and really sold the cake overall. It was paired with cream and a strawberry, the latter of which helped cut through the sweetness.
Overall, both Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Dos Rios Cantina. The food was great and the waitstaff was welcoming and cheerful. I would definitely recommend going to Dos Rios Cantina a little later than we did, as our stay lacked the usual rowdiness and energy of the place but had the same ambiance and playlist. Outside of this, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced meal that will offer you a variety of options, all of which impress, Restaurant Week at Dos Rios Cantina is undoubtedly the place to be. Trust me, the aioli is worth the trip.