Williston is a hustling, bustling, growing community in northwestern North Dakota. With a recent influx of residents has come an expansion of cultures, which in turn has lead to an expansion in eateries. One has become a favorite of ours. Los Compadres!
A walk down Main Street in Williston reveals many things. Construction, changes, improvements are very evident. What’s not so evident is Los Compadres. It’s somewhat of a hidden gem! It blends into the store fronts, but the signage at the front door caught our eye. Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant opened December of 2012, and seems to have carved out a comfortable nook among the vibrant downtown businesses of Williston, North Dakota.
We’d had a busy day meeting people, and researching history in the Williams County, North Dakota area for upcoming blogs. We had worked up an appetite.
Mexican food just might fit the bill! But, wait. I’ve eaten at many Mexican restaurants in the upper Midwest. A great many of them are part of a restaurant chain, with cookie cutter menus and gaudy decor and loud Mexican (I think) music. Their food is, ok, but not something I desire to eat again. Having wined and dined near the southern border repeatedly, and having exposure to southwestern cuisine through the cooking of friends who live there, I know cookie cutter Mexican (with a fancy presentation) from good, authentic home cooked Mexican food. So, with skepticism on my part, we entered Los Compadres.
The first thing observed upon entering Los Compadres was an unassuming, orderly, clean environment. There was nothing fussy about this place, and it definitely had a Mexican flare. That was a good thing in my book. Not cookie-cutter. In fact, it was rather homey feeling!
A black board displaying daily specials caught my eye next. The two menu choices displayed looked ok to me, and the price of those tacos! I liked that. I wish it would have been Tuesday! Of note was that steak was an option for the tacos. Things were looking ok so far.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, compadre is the definition of “a close friend : buddy”. Is that what we would find here, at Los Padres? Many friends?
It was! We were greeted with a beaming smile by our server, Abril, just after we entered. She indicated we could choose our own seating. We went for a booth. Booths somehow seem more secure, cozy. In short order Abril was there to bring water and menus. And she was smiling. Friendly, indeed. So far, so good.
It’s the food that counts! We were looking for real food, home cooked from fresh ingredients, not food from a can, warmed and put on our plates.
A menu which offers tamal (tamale to many) and chili relleno catches my immediate attention! I find those items lacking in many Mexican eateries. The taste of a home made tamal is special to me. I’ve not come by it often in North Dakota. And, chili relleno.
There are several different schools of thought about chili relleno. To be authentic, I think it should be made with pablano (or perhaps Hatch or Anaheim) peppers. Not! green peppers, which is what I’ve found at a few of the cookie cutter restaurants which offer them. The egg batter is sometimes quite thin (my preference), but sometimes it’s very thick. And the cheese should be a kind other than cheddar.
I was delighted when I saw not only both tamal and chili relleno on the menu, but that I had the option to order both by choosing the two entree dinner option.
This was one of the largest menus I have come across at a Mexican Restaurant. Any restaurant for that matter. Page after page after page. By this time, we were definitely hungry! Seeing the plates and smelling the food brought to surrounding patrons was making us anxious to eat!
Abril’s timing was perfect. She took our order efficiently. By this time, she had already furnished us with our second basket of tortilla chips, which were accompanied by home made salsa and a unique, vinegar based cole slaw.
And More Choices!
The menu at Los Compadres was one of the most extensive menus I had seen at a Mexican Restaurant in our area!
It wasn’t long before our food arrived. The smell! The look! And then…… the taste. My hopes for authentic Mexican cooking came true. The refried beans were real, made from scratch. The rice was flavorful, not too greasy. And the tamal and the chili relleno! Whoa! That was probably my reaction after my first bites of each. They were as good, or better, than any I had been served at the kitchen tables of my southwestern friends. The guacamole was fresh, the tomatoes fresh as well. Just the right amount of sour cream. The portion sizes were generous, not behemoth in an overwhelming way, yet twice as much as I could eat at one sitting.
There were many more options we wanted to sample. Upon visiting with our friendly server more extensively, I became enticed with trying the seafood offerings. Chorizo with shrimp! That was new to me, and it’s now on my To Try List for our return visit to Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant in Williston.
Top on my To Try List, though, is not meat or cheese or tortillas or peppers or any such items. I can’t wait to go back to Los Compadres for the Flan, creme caramel! It’s not offered many places. Not many can make it well. And then (I’ll be having two desserts) Platanos Flameados! Yes, flaming bananas with brandy and caramel sauce. That’s a dessert which just might be worth a long drive! There are many other dessert items as well, including Fried Ice Cream, Sopapillas, Mexican Lime Pie, Cheesecake, Sundaes, Banana Splits.
Check out the Los Compadres menu here: You’ll Like This Mexican Food.
Go to Los Compadres
While we can’t say with certainty that Los Compadres is the best Mexican Restaurant in the North Dakota, it’s gotta in the top three or four. Our dinner at Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant was a thumbs up. The environment and the people were welcoming.
Compadres? As important and impressive as the food during our time at Los Compadres was the flux of diners going in and out, all demographics; hard working men, business people after work, families, friends gathering for a visit, and more. There was friendly chatter, talking, laughing, and a lot of smiling while we were there. Our server, Abril, was stand out good. The food was authentic and fresh. The prices were reasonable.
We’re going back!
Stories, history about the surrounding areas of Williston?
Click on this! This Could Be A Spooky Place!
A fascinating and historically important place you might have missed! Forts and TeePees! Mountain Men and Merchants
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