Dos Rios Cantina and Tequila Lounge works hard to make a classy impression. A lot of thought and effort goes into making this restaurant a success. Just look at the interior design. True, you can’t eat interior design, but as I will repeat many times in this blog, a restaurant is more than just food–it must also offer prompt and efficient service, good ambiance, a workable location, and a host of other ingredients in addition to great food in order to achieve greatness. One thing that stands out at Dos Rios is the interior design and its integration with the architecture. This displays some boldness that I wish other restaurants would try. It obviously cost some dough. As for the style, this is Mid-Century Modern done with a sophisticated, sleek look — and executed successfully. Take a bit of ’58 Havana, mix it with some ’65 Vegas, and finish it off with some Miles van der Rohe glass and you can start to get the picture.
I judge a Mexican restaurant by how well it prepares a tamale. A lot of places pretend to make Mexican food but if they can’t make a real tamale then you know they are just pretenders. I fell in love with great tamales back when Raul’s made them in his restaurant on East Grand. His daughter has opened up a new Raul’s in West Des Moines – I’ve tried it and its good. Meanwhile, Dos Rios makes its tamales like they are supposed to be made, wrapped in corn husks and steamed. Every day Dos Rios offers one or two daily tamales. You just have to ask which one they are serving, but they are all good. The tamales come with a small salad on the plate. Two Dos Rios tamales are enough for lunch. The guacomole is another must-have. I used to recommend that diners not go for a half a serving. This is because if you order a whole serving it is usually made tableside and then placed on the table in a very heavy lava stone serving dish. But I’ve seen the size of the lunch servings increase slightly over the last year, so if you order a full guacomole dip then you just might not finish your lunch.
Other than ordering some margaritas with lunch, I’ve not really tried the bar. But the margaritas are excellent, made with fresh fruit and agave nectar. As for service, I have had the best luck during the work week than on weekends. The regular wait staff that works during the lunch hour is very professional and experienced.
Dos Rios also serves a full line of Mexican style dishes and the ones that I’ve tried are all good. I’ve even brought more than one out of town business group to Dos Rios for lunch or dinner. There is something for everyone on the menu.
316 Court Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
•Monday – Thursday
•Friday & Saturday
•Monday – Saturday
this is an update of a 12/2010 Posting