The important thing to remember about the newly opened Dos Lobos (Spanish for “Two Wolves”) in North Reading is its full name: Dos Lobos American Taqueria & Tequila Bar.
An American taqueria? What a nice little culinary paradox, sort of like a Chinese pizzeria. But in this case, the phrase means the owners of Dos Lobos, who also operate The Loft in North Andover and Joe Fish in North Andover and North Reading, decided to take a playful approach to the Mexican cuisine that dominates their menu.
So there are burritos, tacos and fajitas, of course. But you’ll also find St. Louis-style ribs ($12.99/$19.99), a “South Pacific Bowl” with rice and wasabi ginger dressing ($9.99), and your basic line of burgers.
Aficionados of certain potent Mexican beverages should be drawn to Dos Lobos like steel filings to a magnet. One of the restaurant’s claims to fame is a bar list that includes over 100 tequilas, mezcals and sotols. Some might think that sounds like an invitation to a bar fight, but the bar area is cozy and the atmosphere during dinner is perfect for family dinners and first dates.
The space is dominated by earth tones, basket lamps and plenty of wooden accents. It has a casual, comfortable vibe, and the house sound system pushed out a steady diet of infectious blues music during our visit.
But let’s get back to the beverages. Dos Lobos offers flights — samples of three different types or brands — of tequila ranging from $18.50 to $55. It’s a smart way to get educated about the trendy liquor.
I passed on the tequila. Chalk it up to an unfortunate episode during my wayward youth. On the other hand, the blueberry caipirinha ($9.50) was tasty and refreshing and had the kick of a deranged mule.
Our appetizers included an order of agave and cracked pepper wings ($10.99), one of a half-dozen options available. They lived up to their “sweet and sassy” sobriquet. The unusual flavor pairing gave them a deft flourish.
A generous order of the lime salted shoestring fries ($4.99) provided an agreeable crunch factor and mild citrus bite, but the order didn’t stand out the way we had anticipated. On the other hand, the street corn ($4.99) was a wonderful mess … grilled ancho-rubbed mini-cobs accented with cotija cheese and chipotle crema. Woo-hoo.
The “Barbacoa Plate” entree ($17.99) carried a lot of bang for the buck — plenty of shredded and richly seasoned barbacoa beef (that’s where the word “barbecue” comes from), along with house rice, black beans and pico de gallo. This was a treat.
Among the four “Dos Lo-Bowls” is the mighty “Mexi Bowl” ($9.99), with rice, black bean sauce, queso fresco, lettuce, pico de gallo and more. We added a side of shrimp ($9.99) and, again, ate like kings.
Desserts ($7.99) tend to be ice cream-fueled, which is nice because the ice cream is the locally made Mad Maggie’s brand. In one option, sweet fried plantains were plopped into a cinnamon taco and laced with Thai pineapple ice cream, which
had a subtle and unexpected, but agreeable, kick.
I have always been a sucker for churros, even when I sampled them as real Mexican street food. Dos Lobos does a nice job with them — plenty of fried dough and cinnamon sugar — with a little Nutella on the side for dunking and dipping.
Even Little Red Riding Hood would like Dos Lobos.
Dos Lobos American Taqueria & Tequila Bar
North Reading | (978) 207-1254
Monday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.