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Dos Serranos offers reliable, quality fare

Mexican eatery prepares a variety of dishes with care

A woman wrote in recently to tell me how well she liked Dos Serranos in Taylorsville. She'd been looking for good Mexican food for her returned-missionary son. I had other reviews on the docket at the time, but it stuck in the back of my mind.

Well, the opportunity came around this past week to visit Dos Serranos. I was impressed by the quality of the food and the service.

Dos Serranos has the sort of menu that covers a lot of ground with its own unique signature on many traditional favorites, all for very reasonable prices. This type of setup has distinct advantages. For one, people come to count on the selection. They also get used to your way of doing something, and it becomes a favorite for them. When the price is also right, before long it's the catch-all place they go when someone doesn't feel like cooking, or when someone got a promotion, or when Mexican just sounds good.

I like Dos Serranos because there's artful food, and there's less risky food my kids will eat. I like the seasonal menu with its more gourmet offerings.

We started with the guacamole, which is prepared tableside. The chips were warm and light (I appreciate the fact that even the freebies matter). You can decide how much chopped serrano peppers you want mixed in according to how much fire you like. Same with salt and pepper.

We also sampled the mini-chimis. The deep-fried flour wrappers are flaky and light, and stuffed with moist chunks of seasoned pork. These would make a great meal for a kid or alongside a salad for a light meal.

Though I was tempted by crackling fajitas at the next table, dinner for me was a plate of rice, beans and tamales. I opted for charros-style beans. I preferred them to the refried. They're plenty salty and smoky, and very tender. The rice was a treat, too. As I've said before, it's nice to be served rice they actually want you to eat.

My tamales were as good as the rest of the meal so far, and they made fantastic leftovers the next day. They were served atop the corn husk (instead of inside) and drizzled with crema fresca (sort of a drippy sour cream).

If you're a fan of moles, you may like my husband Gary's plate. He tried the chicken breast smothered with Dos Serranos' own mole recipe. This one is a dense, complex rendition that complemented the moist, light chicken.

The dessert menu said, "a good flan is hard to find," implying the diner need look no further. What I liked about the flan was that it didn't have a curdled consistency; it was smooth to the tongue. It had a good, even vanilla flavor, but it was too sweet for my taste. I also prefer flan that's not as icebox cold as Dos Serranos'.

We also tried the chocolate cake with the molten center. It was served with a scoop of chocolate sauce-drizzled vanilla bean ice cream. Talk about your choco-overload! The cake was as densely chocolate as a brownie, but not as heavy. The molten chocolate center was rich, rich, rich. Like the flan, it's very sweet.

Even though the menu at Dos Serranos is large, I hope you get an idea of what to expect. The food is quality, it's prepared with care and it's one of those places to be counted on whatever the occasion.

Average price for appetizers, $7.50; entrees, $8.50 for lunch, $10.50 for dinner; kids, $2.99; dessert, $4.50.

Dos Serranos Border Grill

*** 1/2 (out of five)

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Location: 5419 S. Redwood Rd., Taylorsville; 266-0898

Payment: checks, major credit cards

Reservations: with party of eight or more