› Where: DosBros Fresh Mexican Grill, 5975 Elementary Way, Suite 111
› Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily
› Prices: $2.10-$8.55
› Alcohol: No
› Phone: 423-702-2040
Before the new DosBros Fresh Mexican Grill opened in Ooltewah three weeks ago, word was out that it would be the only one of the five area DosBros locations to offer two special vegan/vegetarian choices. Smart move with its proximity to Collegedale.
So my son, his wife, their kids and I went to check it out last weekend.
The decor of the Ooltewah DosBros is a refreshing departure from the usual hacienda-theme of Tex-Mex restaurants. It's an inviting mix of modern industrial and contemporary design.
The dining space is one, large room that's brightly lit by a front wall of windows in addition to modern pendant lights and track lighting suspended from an open ceiling with exposed ductwork. The floor is faux wood laid in a herringbone pattern. The room seats about 60 in a combination of tables and banquettes.
The menu offers six predetermined entrees: burrito, nachos, tacos, bowl, salad and quesadilla ($7.20-$8.55). Make your entree a combo with choice of three add-ons that include drink, chips and salsa or guacamole for $2.99-$3.99. There is also the option to build your own entree.
After deciding on an entree, next choose from chicken, steak, shredded pork, spicy tofu or veggie. The two special vegan/vegetarian entrees are Spinach and Paneer Cheese or Chickpeas & Sweet Potato Curry.
Customize your entree with one of nine toppings: rice, black or pinto beans, salsa, corn salsa, romaine lettuce, cheese, sour cream, guacamole or queso. Take away the expected tomato salsa, queso and guac, and that really leaves a very limited selection of toppings.
The Lil' Bros children's menu offers three quesadillas and two taco choices, ranging in price from $4.95 to $6.45.
My son and daughter-in-law went for tried-and-true meals; she got the set of three tacos (two beef and one chicken) and my son got a chicken quesadilla. I was there to try one of the special vegan meals, so I asked the employee taking orders which of the two he recommended. Spinach and Paneer Cheese was his suggestion, but he warned me it was "a little spicy."
I ordered it, expecting it to be made from the fresh spinach leaves I saw in the bin on the counter of ingredients. But no, he scooped a ladle of creamed spinach onto the quesadilla, topping that with cheese. I added pinto beans hoping to give it some texture.
It's an acknowledged fact that you eat with your eyes first' that presentation is as important as flavor. With that in mind, this was the most unappetizing quesadilla I've ever been served. The melted cheese with creamed spinach had turned the quesadilla into a soggy mess with dark green spinach oozing out of the limp tortilla and brown juices pooling around that.
Fortunately it tasted a little better than it looked. All I could taste was spinach, but then it finished with a strong kick of heat. I couldn't eat more than three bites before tossing it out.
The beef tacos also were extremely spicy, my daughter-in-law discovered. But the chicken taco and my son's chicken quesadilla were the saving grace of the meal. The chicken was flavorful and moist, and that would be my recommendation to anyone trying DosBros.
This is self-serve where you place your order on one end of the counter, follow your order down the line of ingredients before paying at the opposite end of the counter, where you pick up your meal.
I was surprised when the employee fixing my order told me it was his first day on the job, apologizing after a small flub. That literally is hands-on training.
Hindsight is 20/20. Knowing what I do now about the spiciness of the food, I would choose to build my own salad or pick the chicken quesadilla should I ever go back.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.