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Posted on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 5:04 a.m.

Dos Hermanos lunch counter small on frills, big on flavor

By Will Stewart

If you’ve gone to Dos Hermanos in downtown Ypsilanti for food to prepare your own Mexican feasts, that’s a great start. This charming Mexican market isn’t anything fancy, but you can find everything from beans, to fresh produce, to cane sugar Pepsi in glass bottles, to every sort of meat you can imagine at its amazing butcher counter.

Dos-Hermanos-Exterior.jpg

Outside of Dos Hermanos Market in Ypsilanti.

Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com

But if you haven’t been to Dos Hermanos on a weekend and tried the lunch counter, you haven’t really experienced Dos Hermanos.

Until the other day, neither had we. This is strange, since some of my favorite meals were eaten inside stores, like at the Walgreens lunch counter, where I dined with my grandparents as a child. There’s something old-fashioned and quaint about this kind of dining that appeals to my nostalgia.

What the eatery lacks in elegance, it more than makes up for in charm. And the food — cheap, fresh and flavorful — ain’t half bad. And there’s nothing fancy about eating at Dos Hermanos. Plop down on one of the small handful of stools or just walk up to the counter. If you don’t speak Spanish, count on a fair amount of pointing and gesturing to place your order.

RESTAURANT REVIEW

Dos Hermanos Market
412 West Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti
734-487-8839

  • Hours: Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m
  • Plastic: Visa, Mastercard.
  • Liquor: No.
  • Prices: Inexpensive.
  • Value: Excellent.
  • Noise Level: Loud.
  • Wheelchair access: Yes.

It’s tough to go wrong, even with a language gap. Carnitas tacos — pork slow-cooked in lard — were delicious, with just the right amount of fat to add flavor without being greasy. My dining companion and I polished off three without realizing just how overfilled they are and barely had room for the rest of our order. At $1.50 each, this might be the best bargain in town. Barbecued beef tacos were similarly overstuffed with meat and, like their pork counterparts, came served atop lightly grilled corn tortillas and topped with onion and cilantro. The beef had a vaguely jerky-esque flavor that was good, if a little overpowering.

Both the carnitas and the beef, as well as lamb, are available for carryout at $5.99 per pound which, judging from our time there, appears to be a popular choice. If you choose to go this route, don’t forget to doctor up your meal with the salsa. The verde is robust and hot; the red is muy caliente!

If you’re feeling adventurous, try the consomm√ɬ©, which is actually drippings from the roasted lamb, poured into a Styrofoam cup over a handful of onions and cilantro. You might be surprised how good it is, just as long as you try not to think too much about it.

In fact, all of the food at the lunch counter is pretty authentic. In other words, don’t be surprised to find the occasional bone in your taco. And please don’t let it take away from the joy of eating such wonderful, flavorful food.

Be sure to save room for one (or three) of the best pork tamales you’ll ever taste — and for just a buck. Unlike the rest of the items at the lunch counter, which is only open Friday-Sunday from 11 a.m. until about 3 p.m., you can always grab a tamale to go at Dos Hermanos.

And if you really want to bring out the best in your meal, be sure to wash it down with an ice-cold Pepsi from the cooler. It’s the perfect complement to a near-perfect lunch.

Will Stewart is a free-lance writer for AnnArbor.com.

Comments

Jimaize

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 : 3:32 p.m.

Thanks for the write-up! I have enjoyed shopping there, but hadn't been in since this feature was added. I went there with my two daughters, both of whom have lived in Mexico, one of whom still does, and my son-in law. The food/tacos were superb and authentic, the salsas muy saboroso, and the daughter who's visiting from Mexico declared that she felt like she was back there. I will take advantage of DH's lunch counter as often as I can. Thanks again!

serfergerl

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

I love Dos Hermanos. We shop there regularly and they are always so nice to us, giving the kids a piece of candy as we check out. I agree, if you don't speak Spanish it can sometimes be a challenge. You didn't mention how you can also get a Juarrito - the Mexican soda pop. mmm yummmy stuff!

seldon

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

Will, about the salsa: "caliente" means hot in the sense of temperature, "picante" means spicy. Which did you mean to use for the salsa?

Morris Thorpe

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 7:29 a.m.

You sound almost apologetic in your recommendation. DH has the best Mexican food anywhere between Kalamazoo (La Mexicana) and Detroit. Period. That's why La Raza eats there. Not at Tio's, Sabor Latino, Prickly Pear, Camino Real or any of the plentiful restaurants that sell bad Mexican food at crazy prices. Carnitas are served in three ways: all-meat (masisa), just skin, or both, so make sure to ask for what you like. Also, DH tortas are outstanding but ask for no or little mayo. The tasty telera bread is fresh with lots of avocado to go along with the filling. As you say, the tamales are fantastic. And...No Pepsi. Jarritos.

Wolverine3660

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

Will, thanks for this recommendation. :)