Dorado, the Explorer

30 Jul

You know what’s cute? The eager teenagers working the counter at the brand-new Dorado Tacos and Cemitas in 6095_107669709266_86710249266_2037896_5205108_s Brookline. Soon, they’ll have mastered the order-bagging and card-swiping and juice-dispensing, but for now, each task is nervously, studiously performed, which means that, while some patience is required (the kitchen is learning the ropes, too), you will be reassured several times that your order is almost up and, wait, did you want your salad packed up with the rest, or do you want to eat it here? Because I wondered if maybe you want to eat something now and, yeah, right, probably not, sorry.

It’s charming, provided you’re not in a rush. And, really, don’t go to a new restaurant if you’re looking for speed. As long as the food is good, you have to write off the wait as the cost of an opening-day thrill.

And the food at Dorado is quite good! Doug Organ earned raves for his fish tacos back when he owned Cafe D in Jamaica Plain, and they’re the centerpiece of the menu here. The Dorado taco, in particular, with beer-battered fish, cabbage, salsa fresca, radishes, cilantro, chipotle crema, and lime has a great mix of crunchy-zingy-spicy-creamy notes. The Ensenada is a little more restrained—but closest to the kinds of tacos to be found at the seaside shacks in Baja—with crispy fish, salsa fresca, pickled onions, and crema.

6095_107669694266_86710249266_2037893_6767280_sThat the fish doesn’t turn soggy, even wrapped in foil for a time, is impressive. That it’s so moist and fresh is delightful. And while the tacos are small, they cost just $2.50—and I’d rather sacrifice a bit of portion size than food quality, or on wages for those adorable counter kids.

I’d recommend a more generous hand with the toppings, and more time on the grill/griddle for the tortillas, which tasted undercooked. But those are mere quibbles.

The rotisserie chicken ($9.99), packed up for dinner with a side of black beans, was noteworthy in whatsacemitathat it didn’t reduce the breast meat to sawdust—that preferred style of the Whole Foods school. I’ve grown so accustomed to the latter that when I cut into this one, there was a moment of, “hey, what’s with this all-dark-meat bird?” Paired with the smoky beans and some zucchini I’d just sautéed, it was a solid not-quite-semi-homemade supper.

I didn’t sample the cemitas, which are Poblano-style sandwichs (the restaurant made this handy blueprint for first-timers). Part of the appeal of a Mexican lunch is, for me, the departure from my usual stuff-between-bread construction, so I’m rarely tempted to get the tortas or cemitas. I don’t get the beans-on-bread thing, either. But some Yelpers are giving them raves, so maybe next time.

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