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Tiny Burger Joint Dos Packs Unique Flavors Into Simple Menu 

click to enlarge AMANDA SPENCER/S.A.FOODIE
  • Amanda Spencer/s.A.foodie
If you want an example of how to be baller on a budget, look no further than Dos, a tiny but tight new burger joint that has its act together. Launched by two brothers (hence, ahem … ), Israel and Raul Armando Cepeda, the space has all of about 20 seats (and a drive-through window). Unless one of them is a graphic designer, in addition to being budding burger barons, the two bros hired somebody to do a simple but effective logo, the colors and style of which carry through into the restrained décor and a nifty little takeaway menu.

But these are just the visuals. Los hermanos have also developed a short but well-curated menu of burgers (quatro), one chicken sandwich, one taco plate, and empanadas (dos sabores). None of this would be especially distinctive if it weren’t for one unique factor.

Common to Northern and Northwestern Mexico, discada finds itself in the tacos and on the most opulent of the burgers. A blend of meats that, traditionally at least, is griddled on an agricultural implement, the chopped mix is named for the disc that’s pulled in series behind a tractor to till the soil. There being no signs of agricultural activity at Dos, we can assume that a more standard flattop is used to cook their custom, chopped and marinated blend of bacon, beef, pork, smoked sausage and chorizo. With that much flavor power, you might think that any beef patty would be overwhelmed. But no. Maybe “always fresh meat” accounts for part of it.

Bracketed by a just-crusty-enough potato bun from 4 Kings Bakery in Universal City, the Discada Burger’s equally crusty beef patty maintains a pink interior and holds its own with the assertive topping; chopped lettuce, a mantle of melty Monterey jack and a veil of creamy Ipanema sauce (mayo, cilantro and a hint of jalapeño) round out the presentation. An accompanying order of skinny fries didn’t rise to the same heights, but neither did it profane the package.

If Ipanema sauce sounds like an outlier, it’s because the bros have restaurant experience that includes Churrasco’s, the venerable pan-Latin restaurant in Houston. The same accounts for the inclusion of a brace of lightly enveloped Argentine empanadas — one beef, the other chicken, both worth your consideration. The Tejano burger, on the other hand, is almost puro San Anto.
The same beef, not quite as crusty/pink on a second visit but still commendable, shares lofty bun space with a smear of basic guac, a chunky pico de gallo with red bell pepper, a scattering of “thin-slice” tortilla chips and Monterey jack. It’s a commendable creation in which the tastes and textures all pull together, and it’s especially impressive at a reasonable $6.75. It’s also not unhappy when paired with an order of tender, sweet potato fries — generous at $2.25.

Which brings us to the little sandwich that could — the Pollo Rojo. It was about to be yanked for poor performance when a friend suggested adding “non-spicy” to a menu description that includes the apparently scary achiote, a powder/paste much used in Latin and coastal Mexican cooking that offers assertive color and earthy flavor, but no heat. Shame on you, SA. But spice, as it happens, isn’t really required in this sandwich that’s essentially the Tejano with succulent, grilled and really rojo chicken standing in for beef. We’re glad it survived to contribute to the multiplication of Dos into dos. And maybe tres? I don’t know if los bros have chain on the brain, but I wouldn’t mind an outlet closer to me. Join the emerging crowd at Brooks City Base, perhaps?
Dos thumbs up, regardless.

Dos // 511 Ingram Road, Suite #101, (210) 267-5143,
The Skinny // A small but determined burger joint with a simple menu of unique burgers (one featuring “discada,” a grilled, mixed-meat tradition from Northern Mexico), chicken sandwich and empanadas.
Best bets // Discada burger, Tejano burger, Pollo Rojo sandwich, Empanadas Argentinas
Hours // 11am-8pm Mon-Fri; noon-8pm Sat
Price // $4.95-$7.85

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