Rosa Mexicano: Atlanta

posted on February 7, 2006 at 5:55 pm

I did not eat all day because I knew I was going to have dinner here tonight. That’s how excited I was about Rosa Mexicano opening a location here. I was impressed with the meals I had eaten at a couple of the New York locations and was looking forward to my meal here. Now, I don’t normally go to brand new restaurants but this was something special. This is the food I ate growing up. Good Mexican food is my ultimate comfort food. Having a great place in Atlanta is important to me. Rosa provided. I have to start out with the service because that is the first thing that wowed me. They brought staff down from New York to help with this week and train the Atlanta crew. They were the definition of professional. Comfortable on the floor, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We had a charming server who fielded all of my questions. I ordered a pomengranate margarita. It was delicious. Fresh pom juice…salted rim…divine. The menu was great and extensive. Their dishes were purely rustic but they possessed elegance. I like any place that can pull that off. I ordered 7 dishes. Here is my take with a few photos in the mix.
Our first dish was a Zarape de Pato. This is a roasted duck layered between soft tortillas and topped with yellow pepper-habanero sauce. The duck was made like a pibil. It was delicious but the sauce was amazing. The tortillas were a tad bit salty for me but I am very sensitive to salt. I never salt anything. The dish was amazing though.

Next came Quesadillas de Hongos con Huitlacoche. A grilled flour tortilla filled with a mixture of wild mushrooms, huitlacoche and Chihuahua cheese. It was served with salsa verde cruda. I love this dish. The flavor of the huitalcoche is so truly Mexican. The texture is not for everyone but I love it. The citrus-marinated ceviche was served along side the quesadillas. It was presented very well and the fish was very fresh. The citrus sauce was a bit too sweet for me but I do not have much of a sweet tooth.

Our first entrée to come out was Tablones Grilled boneless beef short ribs served with a mestiza sauce (tomatillo-tomato-chipotle) and rajas. It was so good. The meat was perfectly seasoned and cooked. They served baby corn tortillas, Mexican rice and black beans covered in queso fresco (the tortillas, beans and rice are all you can eat). I had some tacos before moving on to the next dish.

Enchiladas de Mole Poblano. Now, this is in contention for first place with the short rib. Chicken-filled soft tortillas topped with mole sauce, sliced onions and crumbled cheese. Great mole, nice presentation. Purely delicious. I now have somewhere to get my mole fix. They also had a mole special tonight that was mole poblano with apples. Sounds like something interesting to try.

I was so excited when I saw they had Budín Azteca on the menu. My grandmothers always used to make this but they called it pie aztec. This is a great dish. It is a layered tortilla pie with shredded chicken, chihuahua cheese, and chile poblano sauce. This is a must have.

The last dish was the Tacos de Cochinita Pibil. Pibil is slow baked achiote-marinated pork. It was served in a cast iron skillet with charro beans, roasted corn esquites and salsa chile de arbol. This was great. I only had one taco though because I was busting at the seams. We tried many dishes but enjoyed them immensely. I am hesitant to say Rosa is here to stay. They have proven themselves in NYC many times over.But, Atlanta is a fickle crowd. I think it has the experience to back it up though. Should be interesting to see how the service fares after the veterans are gone. The food and atmosphere could hold that place up though. I know I will be going back.
Address: 245 18th Street
Phone: 404-347-4090
Website: Rosa Mexicano

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