Enjoy a Mexican Get-Away without Ever Leaving Bellingham
Jan 28, 2016 06:00AM ● Published by Pamela Johnson
The friendly servers at Jalapeños include Amenda Hasbani (left) and Emily McDonough
At Jalapeños Grill, the new restaurant located across from the Bellingham town common and owned by Ricardo Dorronsoro and Peter Gumas, the focus is on fresh, authentic, hand-prepared food. This is evidenced by the huge (15 ft. x 15 ft.) refrigerator vs. a very small freezer in their open kitchen.
In the late ’80s, Dorronsoro moved to the U.S. from Cancun, Mexico, to marry his sweetheart and has been living in Massachusetts ever since. “Ever since I moved here, my friends and family have taken me to a lot of ‘Mexican’ restaurants,” he said. “I discovered that it wasn’t the same authentic Mexican food that I knew and loved as a child and in my earlier years. I really missed those flavorful dishes, so I started cooking my mother’s recipes for my friends and family, and they absolutely loved them. You see, great Mexican food is very simple—to taste right it has to be fresh, and almost everything is made from scratch.”
Dorronsoro has been working in the restaurant business for the last 35 years; he has worked in some good and some great restaurants and has learned something from every one of them. “I have made my best attempt to apply the best things I’ve learned to my own restaurant,” he explained. “There are certain things you need to be successful—the food must be authentic and the ingredients must be the freshest available.” With the right ingredients, says Dorronsoro, the whole place will buzz with fun, friends, family and music. “My goal is to provide you with not only a great meal but an incredible dining experience,” he said. “I want people to be able to ‘get away’ for a few hours, to that special secluded beach on the southern tip of Cancun where the sun is warm, the sand is soft, and people dance Salsa at all hours, and enjoy a nice meal along with a great margarita.”
This has proven to be a successful recipe, as evidenced by Dorronsoro’s flagship restaurant, Jalapeños in Walpole. Because that restaurant was doing so well, and drawing impressive numbers of diners from the Franklin-Bellingham area, he decided to open a second restaurant in this area, with Peter Gumas as his partner, so those patrons would not have so far to travel. After searching for 6 months, they settled on the space in the Plaza at Bellingham Commons.
The partners did not find out that there was another Mexican restaurant opening a mile away until after they’d signed the lease. According to Gumas, however, “There’s enough business for two restaurants; people don’t have to choose one or the other; they can patronize both.”
Jalapeños menu includes appetizers such as nachos, taquitos, empanadas, guacamole and shrimp ceviche. Soups include tortilla and black bean, as well as Sopa de Moriscos, a lobster-based soup with shrimp, tilapia and swordfish. Salad selections include Caesar and Mayan and Tropical salads, as well as Tulum Shrimp salad.
Specialties of the house include Pollo Thomas, grilled chicken breast with sautéed roasted peppers, jalapeño peppers, red onions and tomatoes simmered in spicy garlic butter sauce; Mole Poblano, a chicken breast with homemade mole sauce topped with sesame seeds; and Puerto en salsa verde, which is chunks of pork and potatoes simmered in salsa verde until tender. Jalapeños also offers tamales and chile rellenos; all of these handmade entrees are served with Mexican rice and refried black beans.
You can choose from a selection of enchiladas and fajitas, as well as a vegetarian menu. Various shrimp, tilapia, scallops, salmon and swordfish meals round out the seafood section of the menu, and for those looking for grilled food, Jalapeños offers ribs, surf & turf, flank steak, NY sirloin and a mixed-grill plate—all Mexican style, of course.
And what better way to end one of these meals than with a traditional Mexican dessert of flan, churros, fried plantains, fried ice cream, or (my personal favorite) tres leches cake. And don’t forget to sample one of Jalapeño’s signature margaritas. “Our coconut Margaritas are getting rave reviews on our Facebook page,” said Gumas. “We also offer our ‘Cougarita,’ which includes passion fruit and mango; that is also a popular favorite.”
“It is truly a pleasure to have you as our customer; please let us introduce you to the different, authentic flavors of Mexico,” Dorronsoro concluded.
Jalapeños Grille (www.jalapenosweb.com) is located at 15 N. Main Street, Bellingham, and at 960 Main Street, Walpole. They are open Sunday—Thursday, 11:30 am—11 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 am—1 am. To order takeout from the Bellingham location, call 508-966-9050.