I’m back with yet another report on an authentic Mexican joint in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. If you know me well, then you know La Fuente is my favorite place in the entire world. Well, that may be an exaggeration but it’s certainly up there. Not only do they have the best chips and salsa guy in the entire world, but the best Mexican food in the area as well. My buddy Tommy has been arguing with me for some time, and trying to say that Los Amigos kills La Fuente. After my first trip, I completely disagreed with him. I wasn’t impressed at all. After a few months and multiple people telling me that Los Amigos has the best Mexican food in the area, I decided I didn’t have an open mind during my previous visit and it was time to give them another shot. Not that I was going to be unfaithful to my beautiful La Fuente. I’m what you could call a Mexican restaurant polygamist. It’s OK to have more than one favorite.
Los Amigos is a bit of a cruise down Michigan Ave into the middle of nowhere, but nothing ridiculous. It’s actually right past Gabriel’s Hoagies which almost lured me in and ruined Los Amigo’s second chance. They’re housed in a building that’s a little intimidating looking, but once you step inside you find yourself in a very friendly, clean atmosphere. The bar is right by the front door which is housed in a medium sized dining area where the smoking takes place. I got there at about 4:30 PM on a Tuesday and the bar was completely packed. More on this later. As you walk to the back section of the restaurant, you enter a very nice and should I say festive(?) dining room. I was surprised to see the area completely empty at this time, but that would change later.
After we sat down, about 5 seconds had elapsed before the chips and salsa were on the table. Los Amigos chips and salsa guy definitely has talent, but just isn’t quite a first ballot hall of famer like La Fuente chips and salsa guy. I don’t mean to take away from a very impressive effort, he’s just the early 90’s Buffalo Bills of chips and salsa guys. No shame in that.
The chips and salsa at this place are quite good. The chips are warm and obviously made in house, while the salsa is smooth, full of flavor and completely fresh tasting. I’m not a huge fan of chunky salsa so this was perfect. It looks a little like a picante sauce at first, but once you dive in there’s a few chunks of tomato, onion and other goodies.
I had heard rumors of drink specials that could make a grown man cry, so I asked the waitress what the current special was on margaritas. The answer I got? Half off all alcohol. Yes my friends, half off all alcoholic beverages. What she means by that is you take the price you would normally pay for what you’re drinking, divide it by two, and that’s what you’re actually paying. So for every two drinks you have, you’re really paying for one full priced drink. I know this doesn’t require that much explanation, but it sure is fun to explain how half off all alcohol works.
Naturally, I ordered a large margarita pitcher on the rocks which cost me $8.50. Happy hour is 7 days a week from 3-6pm at this place. This explains the full to capacity bar area on a Tuesday afternoon. Alcoholics.
The menu at this place has a ridiculous amount of items. Usually I use the system of finding three things I want then picking one when the waitress puts the pressure on me, but I had to ask for more time TWICE. They have your standard Mexican categories, but so many varieties of each item. They have 26 combos, 14 specialties, 4 different types of fajitas, 11 burritos and much more. I ended up sticking with the burrito portion of the menu, even though the Enchiladas Poblanas were stuffed with BRRF. Yum.
I went with the Burritos Tampiqueno, which is two burritos – one steak, one grilled chicken, topped with green salsa and served up with black beans a rice. I was almost lured in by the Pollo Loco, but the burritos just sounded too good to pass up. What I got was a HUGE double burrito platter with plenty of beans and rice on the side. This was the perfect portion for me.
The burritos were smothered in the delicious green salsa and were stuffed to capacity with fillings. The steak was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. The burrito consisted of nothing else to mess around with the flavor, just good ol’ salsa, tortilla, and steak. The chicken was surprisingly flavorful as well, although not as impressive as the steak. I have to say this is one of the more impressive burrito offerings I have ever received. The fact that it’s as simple as it is but still incredibly flavorful is a huge accomplishment in my book. Ahh, the beauty of Mexican cuisine.
Stephanie went with the Special Dinner, which had caught my eye as well. This Special Dinner, which is a perfect name, comes with one chalupa, one chile relleno, one taco, one tamale, and served with beans and rice. I’m pretty sure she assumed that it was mini portions of each, which I did as well, because her facial expression turned to horror when the waiter brought her out two completely full plates of food. This was like a Mexican combo for the Gods.
The special dinner turned out to be pretty so so, or to be really clever… not so special. The enchilada was just as good as my burrito and topped with an absolutely delicious sauce. Unfortunately, the taco was your normal every day taco, the tamale was very average, and we couldn’t even remember what the chile relleno was until we took another look at the menu. Chile rellenos are normally one of my favorite foods in the entire world, but this one just fell a little flat to me. Overall not an awful dish, but I would suggest wandering your eyes elsewhere.
Completely stuffed after finishing mine and half of Stephanie’s dinner to go along with two baskets of chips, I sat back and let my stomach stretch out a bit. I couldn’t possibly eat any more food after what I just ate. The portions were perfect and that was a whole lot of lime juice and tequila that I had just taken down. Definitely couldn’t eat anything else even if I wanted to. Nope.
Oh wait, they have Fried Ice Cream. Yes, I ate more.
All in all, not a bad place at all. Drinks are cheap, portions are large and fairly priced, and the food was good. I would have to say they easily make my list of top 5 Mexican joints in the area, but no where close to #1, which is still reserved for my beautiful beautiful La Funete. Definitely worth a try if you’re a fan of good, authentic Mexican food like myself.
If you’re going to head over there, make sure you print out one of the many coupons on their website. Savings is always a good thing.