SPRINGFIELD We all think we know Mexican food, right? It's spicy. All the dishes contain ground beef. And everything seems to have the same set of ingredients.
Well, that's wrong. Perhaps because we live in the Northeast our vision has been tainted by a lack of good Mexican restaurants.
If you're looking for a Mexican restaurant with fresh authentic cuisine, then look no further than one of the area's newest eateries, the Double Door Mexican Grill and Cantina.
Opened last June, the Double Door is located at t 60 B Congress St., in the same building as Hooters, and there is a large parking lot to accommodate patrons for both establishments.
Owners John and Marlene Smith described their menu as having the flavors of Sonora. There is a greater emphasis on blending spices for flavors than on producing heat.
The dcor is a visual treat at the Double Door. Patrons enter through the colorful lounge area where there is a stage for musical events. Looking over the bar is a life-size Day of the Dead figure wearing a sombrero and strumming a guitar.
The bar features a lengthy menu of martinis and a powerhouse menu of margaritas. I counted 13 different margaritas and John Smith assured me their bartending staff could make even more.
The bare brick walls of the dining room are complemented by colorful paintings, sculptures and sombreros hung on the walls.
Most of the Reminder Publications news crew went down for lunch last week and we're happy to report that if you enjoy Mexican cuisine, you'll enjoy the offerings at the Double Door.
This was my second visit to the Double Door. My wife and I went to dinner there several weeks ago and not only were we impressed with the food, but the service was excellent as well.
Dinner prices range from $7.99 to $14.49. The lunch menu features smaller portions and are a few dollars less expensive than the nighttime version and the management is currently considering adding several more dishes to its menu.
The standard chips and salsa preceded the meal, only here the chips are warm and the salsa is fresh. Two kinds of salsa were offered, including one with quite a bit of heat that our Chicopee Herald reporter Nate Luscombe and Assistant Editor for The Reminder Natasha Clark proclaimed as having a considerable after-life in your mouth.
Our choices hit some of the beef, chicken and vegetarian offerings. Each one had its different approach. There was no cookie-cutter mentality here.
Nate had the Castillion Chicken (dinner $11.49). It's a spicy charbroiled chicken breast with warm chipotle flat bread. It warranted two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Natasha opted for the Enchilada de Queso (dinner $8.99), three cheese enchiladas smothered in a red chile sauce. It was also a hit.
Reminder MetroWest Assistant Editor Michelle Symington had the Enchilada de Pollo (dinner $9.49), which was three chicken enchiladas in a green chile sauce. Michelle asked that the onions be excluded from the dish and the sauce served on the side and her instructions were followed to the letter. She also enjoyed her choice.
I had the Double Door Chimi (dinner $10.49). It's a deep-fried tortilla filled with Chili Colorado beef sirloin tips and smothered in the restaurant's trademark Colorado sauce. It was magnificent.
All of the dinners and lunch items come with your choice of Mexican-style rice or black beans,
When dessert was offered all of us said, "Yes." How can you say no to key Lime Pie ($4.29), the Double Door Cheesecake Flan ($4.79) or an Apple Chimi ($4.99)?
Natasha and I ordered the flan, which was remarkably smooth and tasty, Nate chose the Key Lime Pie and gave it high marks, while Michelle chose the Apple Chimi. It's a deep-fried tortilla stuffed with apples and raisins and topped with vanilla ice cream.
All of us wanted a nap afterwards!
Since we were on the Buendo clock, we couldn't try the adult libations, but all of us decided that since the Double Door was about halfway between the two Reminder Publications offices, that a follow-up story after hours was a good idea.