Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dos Diablos

It was a hot Friday afternoon in the city, and I've finally got some buddies from undergrad working in my part of town. This meant some after work drinks. My first suggestion was the Clark Street Ale House. They've got an extensive beer list but no outdoor seating. We moved down the block a bit to sit outside at the Kerryman. After a few drinks we were joined by Berger and his friend Aaron and started to ponder what to do for dinner. Before I knew it, a battle of the smart phones had begun. The Professor and his HTC Evo seemed to out battle Marc and his Blackberry (I think it was the kickstand that gave the edge). Some suggestions were thrown around as well as some places I knew of in the area. We came up with two places, Dos Diablos and Zocalo.

The first call was made to Dos Diablos who had room for us and was nearby. We decided to just go with that, and in retrospect we may have settled too early.

Logistics
Dos Diablos is located on Hubbard right next to Mother Hubbard's, Hub 51, and anywhere else you might pay more for than what you get in return. As I said before, we called ahead and were able to make a short notice reservation. The restaurant itself is one large room with a bar on the side. We were sat at a 5 person booth in the corner.

The service was pretty good. We seemed to empty the chips on the table pretty quickly, but they were relatively just as quick with the refills. Our waters were kept full most of the meal, and the waitress was honest with certain dishes she thought were better than others.

The price was too high for what it was. Most of our entrees cost between $13 and $17. It's not that we didn't get plenty of food, but the quality of that food was just alright. Plus, there were a few annoying charges like $2 for cheese and sour cream on the side with fajitas.

The Food
An essential to any Tex-Mex restaurant is the chips. These were exactly like Chili's chips. They were real thin and salty. I prefer a more substantial chip, but that didn't stop me from putting away almost a whole basket on my own. The salsa was pretty good with a little kick, but it was served hot which I thought was weird. We ordered some guacamole to go with our chips. Thankfully this came cold. It was served on a large piece of lettuce in a mortar bowl. For $6.75 you'd expect a decent amount of guac, but really the lettuce took up the majority of the bowl. What a scam. Plus the thickness of the guac really showed the flaw in having thin chips.

 The Guacamole

For our entrees I had the Cinnamon Chicken with Grilled Veggies and Patatas, and among everyone else we ordered the Shrimp Fajitas, the Senor Hambre (Chicken and Beef Taco Combo), and the Numero Cinco (Chicken Taco, Fish Taco, and Chicken Enchilada). My dish had an interesting spice rub and the chicken was only slightly overcooked, but the potatoes were a little lacking on flavor and the veggies tasted like they had liquid smoke added (they were too charred). The tacos seemed relatively on par but nothing too special, and the fish taco was said to be dry and a little lacking in flavor. The Professor happened to love his fajitas, but he was drunk so who knows.

 The Chicken Special
(it looked less like a mess when I was eating it, but it was dark in our corner)

The Senor Hambre

 The standard sides for everyone's dishes
(black beans, rice, salsa, lettuce, and pico de gallo)
[the cheese plate on the far left was $2 extra]

The Numero Cinco

Berger and Aaron got margaritas which were $9 and served in a pretty small glass. They looked tasty, but it seemed like a fitting overcharge to go along with the rest of the meal. Interestingly this place has a dish called the Big Mel which is some 3.5 pound burrito that if you eat in 20 minutes is free. It's too bad that Man V. Food already came to Chicago.

 The Margaritas

The Description of the Big Mel
I double dare them to serve something worth coming back for.

Overall
All of the comparisons I've seen so far have been between Dos Diablos and Chili's. This is a very fair match up except that Dos Diablos doesn't have those amazing chicken crispers. The food is unauthentic and overpriced. Conveniently for you, it's right down the road from Chili's so you never have to feel tempted. One might say that it's not fair to compare them to a chain like that except if you look at their website they have franchising opportunities. Although we overpaid, we still all left with overly full stomachs with some decent Tex-Mex. I'm giving Dos Diablos dos Pearls (the credit for that line goes to Berger).



Dos Diablos on Urbanspoon

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