Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tacos and Tequilas - Buckhead - Atlanta Georgia

You can find this location of Tacos and Tequilas at 4279 Roswell Rd Ste 103, Atlanta, GA 30342 in a shopping center on Roswell Rd between Midvale Dr and Rickenbacker Dr just north of Nancy Creek and a bit south of W. Wieuca Dr. This is a well-seasoned shopping center with plenty of parking out front. The location is near Chastain park so this is a great option for before-the-show drinks and snacks when visiting the amphitheater.

This is the first time visiting this location but I'm very familiar with the Ponce location. The menu is the same here and in general the food is about the same (Tex-Mex with more authentic flavors than most in this genre). I was part of a large party (excess of 15 people) so we were seated in the back area which is a better space for large groups. The interior was decorated in preparation for Cinco de Mayo so there were many holiday style flags and the like - there was also a holiday specific menu.

The menu here is quite extensive with plenty of options for even the picky eater. Service was a bit slow (as expected with a big party) but the food all came out hot and good. We loaded up on plenty of margaritas and they are quite good here.

* Guacamole Dip - Classic, slightly spicy and very good.

* Queso Fundido con Chorizo - Cheese Dip with Chorizo with tortillas on the side - loved this dish as the sausage is quite strong.

* Texas Fajitas - steak, chicken and shrimp Fajitas. This was my selection - one of the best fajita combos I've encountered with large portions and perfectly cooked meats.

* Veggie Flautas - vegetarian version served with rice, beans, etc.for my vegetarian friends - I think this was a bit underwhelming from the comments.

* Southern Tacos - Three breaded/fried chicken tacos served with rice. I tasted one of these and thought they were a bit greasier than I would have expected.

* Tilapia and Shrimp - griddled fish with sauted shrimp sans cheese dip, served with grilled asparagus and chipotle mashed potatoes. I tasted this dish and it's certainly worth trying. Not a big fan of tilapia myself (I try not to eat anything farm raised) but this dish had a great combination of flavor and textures.

* Ice Cream with Churros - your basic frozen dessert served with fried dough cinnamon sticks

* Flan - creamy flan served with whipped cream - I thought this very good.

I just realized that I hadn't reviewed the Ponce location so I'll make sure to do so in another post. I find this Buckhead location as good when it comes to food quality but there's a bit of difference in the staff - I think the Ponce staff is just plain better - both in service quality and especially at the bar - I know this is subjective, but the servers here weren't as attentive as the Ponce location but maybe they were having a bad day? Not sure. Still worth visiting if you're in the area.  

-- John

(also posted to Yelp)
Tacos & Tequilas Mexican Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hong Kong City - Chamblee Atlanta Georgia

You can find Hong Kong City at 3979 Buford Hwy Ste 113, Atlanta, GA 30345 - this is the shopping center at the bottom of the hill that also has an Aldi location. There's tons of parking and several other restaurants in the same shopping center.

I came here on a Wednesday evening with my regular Buford Highway Restaurant Crawl group hosted by John F. If you've been following along you know that this is the second time we've done this, the original was in 2008-2009 - this time we started at the bottom of Buford Highway and we're moving up, stopping at just about every restaurant (plus a few that aren't technically on Buford Highway) every week. Tonight it's Chinese food.

Hong Kong City is in about the middle of a long row of buildings - also nearby are the very good La Castilla Grill and of course the classic Cuban Havana Grill. There are also two other recent additions but the restaurants seem to change names a bit - we passed on Mariscos El Malecon as it wasn't open.

When you walk into Hong Kong City you'll find a surprisingly tasteful dining room - much nicer that you would expect for what you might call a hole-in-the-wall. This is a fast casual experience so you order at the counter and wait for your food to be prepared at one of the tables or banquets. The food and menu contain your typical swag Chinese selections - your basic Americanized Chinese adaptations that most of us grew up with.

We ordered several items including one vegetarian dish:

Steam Dumplings (8) - appeared to be chicken (but may be pork - difficult to tell). These were pretty bland and very doughy - they're probably better fried. The sauce seemed to be all soy with very little vinegar.

Egg Drop Soup for one - was told that this would okay but nothing special

Shrimp Fried Rice - this looked and tasted very bland

Bean Curd with Mixed Vegetables - this was asked for "extra spicy" and that seemed to help - they add some chili which improves the flavor

Dragon and Phoenix - from the Chef's Specials menu - General Tso's chicken and hot spicy shrimp - you can't really see the shrimp in there from the photo.

Four Seasons - Jumbo shrimp, beef, chicken, roast pork with vegetables in brown sauce - ordered extra spicy. I had this and it was good but I think it really needed the extra chili sauce.

In general I was a bit disappointed in the food - my expectations weren't very high but influenced by the good Yelp reviews and if anything, the food was a bit below what I expected. For what it is, it's fairly good and cheap. The issue I have with this restaurant is that it's on Buford Highway surrounded by many very exceptional Chinese cuisine restaurants - so why would you come here?

Service was good considering it's "counter service" - someone did come by and refill our water glasses. I believe this is part of a local chain (at least i see other locations in Yelp/Zomato) - I'd call it above Panda Express - at least the food is freshly cooked - otherwise it's similar in my opinion.

-- John

(also posted to Yelp)
Hong Kong City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Nam Phuong Vietnamese - Chamblee Altanta Georgia

You can find this location of Nam Phuong at 4051 Buford Hwy NE, Ste A, Atlanta, GA 30345- this was previously the location of the exceptional Pho #1 sharing the same limited parking - careful that you don't block the other end (near the Asian grocer).

I was a bit hesitant to try Nam Phuong for quite a while as I had a hard time reconciling the changeover from Pho #1, one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants. I finally broke down and found that if anything, Nam Phuong is even better! The pho here is top-notch with the rich broth you would expect from the better pho restaurants. What's remarkable is that the menu is extensive and full of delicious items - this has become my new go-to restaurant for pho and Vietnamese, it's just that good and consistent. 

The menu as mentioned is quite extensive but look at the Daily Specials in front - all I've tried are exceptional. Next are sections for: Kha Vi (appetizer rolls), Vietnamese Street Foods, Banh Hoi (Create Your Own Rolls), Goi (salad), Chao (rice porridge), Sup (soup), Bo Kho (beef stew), Pho (beef noodles soup), Hu Tieu, Mi (noodles soup), Bun (vermicelli), Hu Tieu & Mi Zao (Pan fried noodles), Com Tam (rice plates), Com Chien (fried rice), Do Xao (wok dishes), House Specials, Mon Chay (vegetarian dishes), Family Dinners for 2-10, Giai Khat (beverages), and Mon Moi.

If you want an interesting appetizer, try the  Bot Chien - Pan friend rice cubes. These delicious starchy cubes are encrusted with fried egg and green onion and served with a vinegary soy - so delicious.


My favorite rolls are the Thit nuong cuon - BBQ pork rolls - these delicious smokey pork rolls are, I believe, the best I've ever had. The peanut sauce is thick and rich and spot-on. I could eat a couple of orders of these and call it a day. 

I've also had the shrimp rolls (to appease the pork haters) and they are good but after trying the BBQ pork they seem to lack in something (jaded, I know).

Muc rang muoi (salt and pepper squid) - you basic fried squid

Ca ri de (goat curry) - delicious in a creamy curry served with steamed rice or vermicelli or French bread)

Ga rau cai (chicken with vegetables) in Black Bean Sauce - they know how to use a wok for sure!

From the Daily Special menu, the Co'm suron bo (rice plate with grilled beef) is basically the same as Korean style Bulgalbi served with a side of rice. It's an awesome backup plan if you're just not feeling the Vietnamese goodness...

Papaya salad with shrimp and chicken - quite good and I think there's actually some papaya in it (I always question this at other restaurants).

Com tam thit nuong bi cha (Rice plate combination) -  BBQ pork, shredded pork, egg quiche and egg - this is an awesome mixed combo plate and quite filling.

I usually settle for the pho, and in particular the chicken pho (pho ga) or pho with chin (well done brisket), tai (eyeround steak) and nam (flank).

The service here is usually quite good - however the place is regularly slammed with lots of big parties sharing huge meals so account for that. Better to come during weeknights at slightly off hours (early evening or late - early is better). The only real negative is the parking - when it's busy there is none - almost better to park across the street and walk over.

-- John Eaton

(also posted to Yelp)
Nam Phuong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato