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Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.
Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.

Unsung Eats: Desperados
North Adams — fresh Tex-Mex for the frugal

The rise in popularity of Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S. is of no surprise when you consider the increasing cultural and culinary diversity of Americans and America itself.

When we consider what makes for a good comfort food, Americanized Mexican food (known as Tex-Mex) can hold its head high with its shredded meats and melted cheeses, the deep rich sauces, the contrasts of crunchy and creamy and spicy and cool.

I found myself walking around downtown North Adams one recent sunny day, poking around in the shops and decided on lunch in a little Mexican restaurant on Eagle Street called Desperados.  Once inside I was seated in a booth by a friendly server named Tammy, who brought me a small bowl of warm chips and their homemade salsa with the pink lemonade I ordered. I told Tammy I was looking for good food for a great value and she guided me to the platters on the lunch menu. I opted for the Enchilada Platter with pork and the sayulita sauce, which is their tomato based roja sauce with sour cream and cilantro.

Desperados serves up hot, hearty, healthful, house-made dishes that won't be instantly metabolized when you're on the run the way fast food is; photo by James Kennedy.
Desperados serves up hot, hearty, healthful, house-made dishes that won’t be instantly metabolized when you’re on the run the way fast food is; photo by James Kennedy.

I got there right as they opened for lunch so it wasn’t too busy yet, and while I was looking around at the décor, a man named Pete came over to my table with a small cup of guacamole for me to try and introduced himself as the owner. The freshly made guacamole was bright and creamy with just the right amount of tooth. I chatted briefly with Pete and he informed me that just about everything is made from scratch in-house — one could tell that Pete was very passionate about his restaurant and the food they put out.

Tammy served me my lunch platter, warning me that the plate was hot, and now between my platter, the salsa and chips, and the guacamole it looked like a feast fit for a king — and it was!  I dug right into the enchilada, and the pork was so tender I could cut it with my fork. The sayulita sauce was delicious and the entire meal was served on a warmed plate (not every restaurant does), which to this foodie makes all the difference in keeping your meal from being cold after five minutes. The rice was perfectly cooked, and the homemade beans had a great depth of flavor.

Rice, beans, an enchilda smothered in cheese (plus chips and salsa), and a drink for well under 15 bucks? A lunch deal like that leaves you with enough jingle in your pocket to tip your waitstaff well for the great service you get; photo by James Kennedy.
Rice, beans, an enchilda smothered in cheese (plus chips and salsa), and a drink for well under 15 bucks? A lunch deal like that leaves you with enough jingle in your pocket to tip your waitstaff well for the great service you get; photo by James Kennedy.

The total bill for lunch today was $12.26 — Unsung Eats calls this one a great value. The next time you’re walking around downtown North Adams and want to fill your belly with some great Tex-Mex, stop on in at Desperados. You will not be sorry! Check their expansive menu out online at mydesperados.net, or follow them on Facebook where you can find about specials like Taco Tuesday, where it is all you can eat tacos, burritos and enchiladas.

Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street, in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.
Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street, in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.
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