Friday, July 3, 2015

Los Bravos Mexican Restaurant - Johnson Ferry and Ashford Dunwoody Rd

You can find Los Bravos Mexican Restaurant at 2042 Johnson Ferry Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30319 in the corner of Johnson Ferry and Ashford-Dunwoody Rds in Chamblee. This is the shopping center anchored by Kroger that also conveniently hosts Star Bucks and is a bit of a community center for residents in the area. Los Bravos is on the Eastern-side of the building between Dollar Tree and Starbucks.

I've been coming to Los Bravos for close to 15 years - I had previously visited the Los Bravos on Decatur Rd near the hospital so I was very familiar with the style of food. This is more of a quantity and value play rather than a superlative food play, although it does have some standouts. 

The interior is painted in bright colors and there is a small Cantina-style bar where you can get your cervesa and margarita (both frozen and on the rocks). I rarely come here for drinks - it's the quick lunches and great service that keeps me coming back. There's ample seating in the large rooms in back or for a more intimate atmosphere there are also booths. 

Usual clientele are generally the employees of businesses found locally - lot's of technical people from the hospital, the Cox campus and others. We eat here quite a bit due to its proximity to my work, the quality of the service, the speed of delivery, the price of the food, and because they are accommodating to my friend Sid's vegetarian needs. They'll gladly make most dishes with a substitute of beans, potatoes or onions/peppers.

The chips and salsa are very basic - nothing particularly spicy in the salsa, however the chips have always been fresh for me, often still hot from the fryer. 

There's a special lunch menu where you can eat for right around $7 and the food can be quite filling, especially when you eat a lot of chips - however those chips do take their toll, both in calories and in coma-inducing effect later in the afternoon. I have other recommendations that I believe are still both very good and of great value:

Chicken Soup - this is one of my favorite dishes at Los Bravos - I usually get the large but most will find the small more manageable - add a side or a taco the small isn't quite enough. I love this soup - chicken stock with fresh lime, chunks of shredded chicken, pico and a bit o rice. The large is in a bowl that could fit on your head - seriously, so consider than when ordering. I love this in the winter or when I'm feeling a bit under-the-weather. It's a bit too hot to order during the summer (I sometimes still get it but it's hard to finish the large).

Chicken Soup (Large)

Chicken Soup (Small)

Fish Tacos - these are huge and quite good - and you can get them griddled or fried, one or two (two mostly cover a huge platter so keep that in mind). I go for this when I need a bit of a healthier option.

Carnitas - these are slow roasted pork chunks, served fork-tender with a  bit of crust on the outside and are absolutely delicious. These are served with cooked onions and a spicy sauce that I've only seen with this dish - I liberally pour it over the meat and break up the chunks a bit so it slathers all surfaces. The carnitas are served with pico, sliced avocado, lettuce, rice,  refried beans and flour tortillas. This is my number one dish when I'm famished.

Carnitas Dinner
Carnitas Dinner

Fajitas - whether you get beef, chicken or shrimp, the Tex-Mex fajitas at Los Bravos are quite passable - the lunch portion is smaller than the dinner and for the $2 or so difference in price I'd say go for it, unless you're on a mad-numbers-crunching-budget. This dish comes steaming on a hot pan with all of the sides included with the carnitas above.

Number 6 Combination - This is my favorite combination, one burrito, one enchilada and one taco - I get this all chicken to cut down a bit on the calories, plus I'm not a big fan of the spiced ground beef at Tex-Mex restaurants. This is the equivalent of a Number 21 or Number 11 at other Tex-Mex chains (funny how you can derive the history of these restaurants by the Combination menu numbering - it seems that most of the menus have been copied from each other through the years - I'm sure there's some correlation between the restaurants relative age and the spawning of new restaurants as chefs move on to open their own restaurants).

Number 6 Combination
Speedy Gonzales (vegetarian)
Speedy Gonzales (vegetarian)
Special Lunch A (Chicken)
Special Lunch A (Chicken)
Pollo Ranchero
Burrito Verde
Special Lunch No 3 (Huevos Rancheros)

Pollo Ranchero
Chicken Casadilla

The service here is very good and the hostesses very accommodating, even for large parties (I've brought as many as 20 here without reservations and only had to wait a few minutes for them to juggle the seating). They also will split the check (you tell them what you ordered when you line-up to pay - they subtract until the last person gets stuck with anything anyone forgot - ha! So make sure you pay first.). All-in-all a good, solid dining experience.


-- John

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