Pretty much the only reason I come down to Crows Nest is to Ryo’s Noodles for my ramen cravings. Thick broth, springy noodles, and that soft-boiled soy egg that melts away on your tongue like a dream. It was after one evening of enjoying such an indulgent meal that on the walk up towards the Pacific Highway, I walked past this place with a friend, and she recognised it as the sister branch of the Dos Senoritas she has previously visited in Gladesville. She became super-excited, as it’s one of the few Mexican restaurants – hell, leave out the Mexican…restaurants full stop – that truly take into account her inability to have any dairy products. I made a promise that we would return for it..and I made good on that promise one freezing Wednesday evening a few weeks ago.
Of course I looked it up before I went. I was wide-eyed when I saw that some people had said it was some of the most authentic Mexican food they have had in Sydney, what with all the fast-food chains popping up everywhere full of cheesy nachos and floury burritos.
We hadn’t thought to make a booking, being a Wednesday evening, but luckily we arrived early as the small restaurant was full capacity at around 7.30pm. Most people simply ate and left, as the food arrived very quickly; few staying to linger over a bottle of BYO wine (they don’t yet have their liquor licence, despite the alcohol on the menu) or like us, over dessert and conversation.
Back to the beginning of the evening. You’re given free corn chips when you sit down. Free! Getting something free in Sydney these days is almost shockingly surprisingly as it is nice. It comes with quite a spicy salsa that will make your lips and tongue tingle delightfully.
My friend ordered the same thing she did at the Gladesville restaurant, the Gringo Burro ($25) – described as FULL POUND! on the menu. You can have it stuffed with either chile verde, shredded beef, chicken or ground beef with black beans, sauteed peppers, onions and rice topped with sour cream (obviously not for her) and green chile sauce. I couldn’t help my eyes widening when it arrived:
I jokingly asked if she was going to eat it with her hands; but no, she ate it with knife and fork like a lady. And she ate every bit of it with great satisfaction.
I wasn’t quite as much of a lady. I decided to try their award-winning tacos. You choose your taco style first – gringo style (flour), street style (corn), or tex mex (crispy taco shell) – and then the three fillings you would like. These were charbroiled chicken, marinated steak, seasoned ground beef, Dos XX battered fish, and fish and shrimp topped with Baja sauce. The three tacos are filled with rice and beans, guacamole, sour cream, pico and coriander, and served with lime ($25).
For the sake of being authentic, I selected the corn tacos.
A diner on Urbanspoon had recommended the fish and shrimp, so that one it was. With the others I selected the marinated steak, then after a bit of thought decided to make the Dox XX battered fish my third – just to try something a bit out of my comfort zone ;)
I had the fish and shrimp taco first – and couldn’t suppress a moan of joy around my full-mouth of taco. Bursting with fresh flavour and texturally amazing – the seafood had been so lovingly cooked that it was perfectly tender. Zesty, fresh and indescribable. You wouldn’t be able to eat a regular food court taco after having this. While the Dos XX battered fish and the marinated steak were similarly well-cooked, I could have happily had three in a row of the fish and shrimp tacos. It was seriously that good.
We had been hoping to wash down our meal with a margarita or a Corona, but as they hadn’t got their liquor licence then, of course we had to have dessert instead. Such a shame ;) I was a little surprised when the waitress said that the Churros ($6) is just two churros sticks, so I guess we had to order two, as I certainly wasn’t sharing..
Gorgeous. Chewy, soft, so much cinnamon and sugar and goodness (for the soul :P). There was a flavour in the chocolate sauce which I couldn’t identify at the time, which I now suspect was a bit of caramelised condensed milk or dulce de leche. Whatever it was, it was simply beautiful and having just two of these sticks was more than enough for both of us.
Whilst not the cheapest Mexican food around, it’s a menu full of variety, with flavours and textures that simply pop and dance on your tongue. Its been a few weeks now, and I’m craving those fish and shrimp tacos. It may be time to do a return trip soon…
19 Falcon Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
(02) 9439 3332