Drinks for my friends

Manager Raul Valencia makes a traditional Margarita at Los Compadres on East Fourth Street.

Manager Raul Valencia makes a traditional Margarita at Los Compadres on East Fourth Street.

Photo by AMY BECK

Daily from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

My friends, who are getting married next week in Mexico, have stupidly asked me to be in their wedding. I say “stupidly” as the equation of me plus copious amounts of tequila plus a wedding could equal disaster, as in “bring bribe money for the federales” disastrous. To get ready for the trip, I invited my friend MG to dinner at Los Compadres. I told him I wanted to practice my Spanish before I left, but really I just wanted to rub his face in the fact that I’m going to Mexico, and he is stuck here in the cold. I sometimes wonder how I even have friends.

Los Compadres is not in the best part of town, but we were there early enough that I wasn’t concerned. The sign outside, which is designed like the Mexican flag, peeked out of the darkness and welcomed us in. Los Compadres has been around for quite some time, and the décor could use an upgrade. The walls are painted light purple, dark booths surround the dining area, and there is a bar in the back. Aztec paintings and terra cotta suns hang throughout the restaurant. I found it typical of a Mexican restaurant. There is also an outdoors seating area, which could probably serve up some interesting people watching in warmer weather.

We were seated immediately, and chips and salsa were delivered without delay. The chips were crisp but cold. Two salsas were brought out, one medium and one spicier. The salsas were flavorful but lacked sufficient bite. We started off with some Margaritas on the rocks ($6.25). They arrived quickly, and I was pleased with the large size. Los Compadres doesn’t scrimp on the tequila, which also made me happy, and the Margaritas didn’t have that syrupy sugar taste of a mix.

Our friendly waiter quickly appeared again to take our order. I went with the carnitas ($11.99), and MG ordered the three-meat-combo fajitas ($13.49). The waiter told me that carnitas are the restaurant’s specialty so I was excited. Our meals arrived really quickly—so quickly it made me a little nervous. However, the food looked tasty, so I didn’t worry much. The carnitas plate arrived with a huge pile of shredded pork with rice, refried beans, and a generous serving of sour cream and guacamole. I chose corn tortillas, which arrived hot and soft. The carnitas were flavorful and cooked well, not too dry and not greasy. I made large tacos with the rice, which had a really nice spicy flavor to it. The guacamole was excellent and tasted fresh. A large bowl of flavorful salsa verde was brought out, too. It had some kick, and I wish it had been brought out earlier with the chips.

MG’s fajitas, which came with shrimp, chicken and beef, were not as successful as the carnitas. The meats were rather bland, and the beef was dry. There were red and green peppers, onions and tomatoes, but the amount of vegetables was fairly skimpy. MG ordered the flour tortillas, and only two were brought out, although our waiter was quick to bring more when asked. Midway through the meal we ordered some beers, a Modelo Especial ($4) for me and Pacifico ($4) for MG. As with everything, the beers arrived quickly.

Overall, Los Compadres offers excellent service with decent food, but I wasn’t blown away. Assuming I don’t end up in a Mexican prison and do return from my trip, I might come back to the restaurant for more Margaritas.