This week, Monica and I stopped in Lookout Valley to try out Los 3 Amigos Mexican Restaurant at 3536 Cummings Highway.
Our stop was an early dinner (around 3:45 p.m.) after our trek to the Dade County probate office to sign a marriage license. The clerk said she’s never had to turn people away from getting a license because they are first cousins. I asked. She said she’s never turned anybody away for that reason because marrying your first cousin is allowed in Georgia (and other Southern states). However, she said, you cannot marry your step-siblings.
Fortunately, none of that applied to our situation because we’re not related. After we got the paperwork, we stopped at Exit 174 on the return home and searched for some grub. I’ve already written about Hillbilly Willy’s and Café & Toast (both worth your time), so we decided to try Los 3 Amigos (The Three Amigos) near Walmart. There are apparently two Los 3 Amigos restaurants in the region—this and at 12553 Main St. in Trenton, Georgia—which may lead you to ask, where’s the third (or tres) amigo? If you’re familiar with the 1986 comedy “Three Amigos,” you’ll know the least likely of the Three Amigos to own a restaurant would be Martin Short’s character Ned Nederlander. Is it him? Where is the third amigo’s restaurant?
Regardless, we were hungry and Mexican cuisine is always on the table.
If you’ve visited an American Tex-Mex restaurant before, you’ll have seen this exact interior. There are enormous booths to fit enormous American asses, a few standard tables, a small bar in the back and plenty of banners strung up advertising José Cuervo, Patrón and other liquors and beers I’m too much of a lightweight to drink without consequences.
According to the about us page, the restaurant has operated since 2011 with “classic favorites with a modern flare sure to enchant and fascinate our guests.” Monica and I were among the only people in the restaurant when we walked inside. Weird off-hour eating times are a pillar of our relationship. Our server was friendly and had chips and salsa down in a moment. We also ordered a queso dip and, against my better judgment, a frozen margarita. Those things are almost instant heartburn inducers, yet it’s difficult for me to say no to anything frozen and alcoholic.
The menu has a great layout and a bunch of items. There’s nothing on here that you haven’t seen before, though. I asked our server what they specialized in (i.e., what’s good?) and she pointed me toward a little dish called the 3 Amigos Special. Unfortunately, the “special” is just arroz con pollo renamed. You know the dish: chicken and rice covered in queso. It’s about as flavorless and easy as a Hungry Man dinner. A deeper dive into the menu uncovers nothing else you haven’t seen on a menu before. Sometimes familiarity is a positive. In this case, we discovered exactly what we hoped to discover.
Monica ordered a standard taco salad with ground beef. She’s allergic to avocado, so no guacamole was requested. I’m marrying her anyway. I ordered the above margarita and the grilled chicken fajitas. These are old standbys for us and even bad fajitas can be delicious. Fortunately, these were an above average version of the many chicken fajita varieties I’ve had before. Monica said her taco salad was good.
The only downsides to the meal were the nearly flavorless queso dip and the cloyingly sweet frozen margarita. I know the margarita had alcohol in it, but it tasted like margarita mix and triple sec made up about 90 percent of the drink. The margaritas come from a machine (like a frozen lemonade) so it’s hard to get the portioning right. I was puckered out by this one and I should’ve ordered a beer. It’s hard to complain about melted cheese, but this queso dip lacked any sort of flavor … even salt was absent. We probably got the leftover batch from lunch. I don’t know.
The one thing Los 3 Amigos has against a few competitors are the weekly specials. Happy Hour is 4-9 p.m. Monday to Saturday. House margaritas are just $3.79 and other drinks are discounted by $1. The most exciting night for me would be Tuesday wing night. Wings are just $.75 from 5 p.m. to close. Both Monday and Wednesday nights are “taco night” with specials on both hard and soft shell tacos.
Sew Like the Wind!
Would we go back?
There are better options for Mexican food in Chattanooga, but that doesn’t matter. You can meet your girlfriends at Los 3 Amigos for an after-work margarita fest, meet the boys for coronas and wings on Tuesday nights, or just eat alone and casually drop $1.00 in quarters into the box when you leave and take your cherry Blow Pops with you on the way to the liquor store before heading home to your wives. Mexican restaurants like this serve a purpose. It’s comfort food in the form of warm cheese and flour tortillas, frozen drinks and sizzlin’ cast-iron. They’re all the same and we’re glad they are.
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.