Mexican fare at El Centro Dos fails to impress

Above: Camarones papantla (shrimp wrapped in bacon with cheese and rice). Left: Sopa de tortilla.
Above: Camarones papantla (shrimp wrapped in bacon with cheese and rice). Left: Sopa de tortilla.photos by Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

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The word on Boston’s dining scene has always been the same: We’re starved for a great Mexican restaurant. Forget “authentic,” a word that doesn’t mean much, anyway. We’ll settle for a place that at least attempts something beyond chimichangas and flautas; even then, we won’t complain as long as they’re tasty and priced right. But a truly spectacular Mexican restaurant brimming with fresh ideas and unusual menu items? We’re still waiting.

When El Centro opened in the South End in 2011, it appeared we were moving in the right direction. Chef-owner Allan Rodriguez’s spot on Shawmut Avenue reminded me of interesting restaurants I used to frequent when I lived in Xalapa, the capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz.

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