When it comes to Mexican food on the Strip — an ever-changing Vegas dining category — it seems to me there's Border Grill, and there are all the rest. There's no shortage of choices, but the flavors seem to run together and rinse each other out. Lately, however, I've been coming back to another restaurant putting worthwhile twists on familiar dishes.
Dos Caminos certainly is no secret. It boasts a massive dining room and cool lounge and bar space, all wedged into the southeast corner of Palazzo's spacious casino. Like Border Grill (from LA), it's imported from a bigger restaurant town (NYC). It's operated efficiently by a giganto restaurant corporation, BR Guest. But I can't help feeling that Dos Caminos, like many of Palazzo's grand amenities, is a little forgotten, maybe unappreciated. It shouldn't be.
In addition to some truly fine margaritas, mojitos and specialty cocktails, it serves up the ultimate starter — my favorite guacamole on the Strip. It's the only place that actually adds adequate heat if you place a spicy order. Your server will tell you one molcajete full is enough for two, but the portion can actually feed four (unless you're sharing with me). Other tasty snacks on the menu include sweet roasted plaintain empanadas and a decent tortilla soup.
Tacos come two ways. A small metal frame will prop up three, your choice of chicken, pork, lobster, fish or carne asada. I recommend you go bigger and drop $5 more for tacos en cazuela, a cast iron dish full of braised short ribs, slow barbecued lamb or grilled sirloin, which you'll roll into warm, fluffy corn tortillas. On the side, there are beans, slaw and a little Mexico City-style corn. Mmm, real taco dinner.
Looking to go heavier still? There are four steaks and chipotle barbecue ribs with black bean and chorizo chili ready to weigh you down. Lighten up with oyster ceviche or a subtle sea bass with tomato-olive relish. Unlike many Mexican spots, Dos Caminos offers understated variation, and that's what creates a contender.