A couple rare but easy-to-love dishes help distinguish this generally strong-performing new taqueria
In Spanish, “dos sabores” means “two flavors.” I'm assuming the new Mexican restaurant bearing this name is referencing its owners — brothers Miguel and Cesar Ramirez — rather than its appealing cuisine, because the eatery clearly features more than two flavors. Less blatantly apparent: The establishment, open since May, offers a couple of easy-to-love Mexican dishes not seen in most taquerias.
Adding to its mold-bending profile, there are multiple ways to refer to the business. But whether you know it as “Dos Sabores,” ”Do2 Sabores” or “2 Sabores Taqueria and Mexican Grill” — the latter appears on its awning and menu — expect to enjoy freshly made, mostly great-tasting food.
You can also expect a humble, if not spartan, dining room located in a strip mall just north of East Dublin-Granville Road. In parlaying their former taco truck (since sold) into a brick-and-mortar operation, the Ramirez brothers have created a very tidy space with helpful table service, plus a few lively decorations. Above a new wooden floor you'll find: botany-textbook-worthy illustrations of sunflowers; “papel-picado” banners; a couple of TVs probably showing Mexican soccer games; and a photograph of a Ferris wheel with “Puebla” written in the foreground in large, colorful letters.
Puebla, the culinary hotbed near Mexico City where mole was invented, is the city that also gave birth to a locally uncommon, must-try item available here: the cemita. Essentially a terrific round torta, the sandwich is fashioned with a standout house-baked roll that's puffy, has a crinkly shell and conjures sesame-seeded brioche.
In addition to a selected filling — try the thin, crisp and delicious chicken schnitzel called Milanesa de pollo ($9) — standard cemita toppings include addictive Oaxacan cheese, avocado, ham, creamy refried beans and either pickled jalapenos or sweet-and-spicy chopped chipotles (or both, if you're like me). For even more oomph, hit it with the spicy (and good) red and green hot sauces dispensed from tableside squirt bottles.
The Memela, a relative steal at its $4.50 to $5 price tag, is the other rare, must-try item available here. Related to the huarache and sope, it features a flat-and-thin griddled handmade oval masa disk that arrives toasty and crisp. Atop this comforting raft are refried beans, queso fresco, lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, plus plenty of a chosen, taco-style meat. The barbacoa, which recalls pot roast stewed in red mole sauce, works well.
Fairly typical taqueria fare rounds out the eminently navigable menu. Fans of guacamole would be wise to order it, as the uncommonly nuanced and balanced version freshly prepared at 2 Sabores is among the best I've sampled this year ($6 for a generous portion and served with warm, house-fried tortilla chips that could've been less oily). Unlike myriad others elsewhere, this guac is neither too creamy nor too chunky, and its perfect chili kick is modified by just enough brightness and cilantro.
The tacos are solid (most cost $2). As expected, they're served “street-style” and assembled in warm, soft corn tortillas garnished with onions and cilantro and presented with sliced lime, radish and cucumber on the side. Full-flavored griddled taco meats such as chorizo, lengua and chipotle chicken can also fill the significantly bigger, and even better, tortas (most are $9).
Although it looked great, the Carne Asada Platillo ($16) was the lone misfire I tried. Everything on the hefty platter tasted good, but the beef was tough and the refried beans were cool. Rather than exploring the relatively pricey entree section, then, I recommend targeting weekend specials. Warning: Go early, because the limited-supply specials sell out quickly, and the impressive handmade tamales I recently sampled($2.50) had me planning a return trip for other Saturday specials I missed out on, such asposole and atole.