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Restaurants & Bars 1

Atlanta. Rpt from the fringe. Shiraz and La Fonda San Carlos

Steve Drucker | Aug 13, 200403:20 PM

A brief report re Duluth and Norcross:

Shiraz is so far (Jones Mill Road north of Abbotts Bridge up in Duluth ) from most of us that I can't blame everyone for not getting there.

That's too bad. Ownership changed this past spring, and what was formerly ok food and a good value has morphed into very good food indeed.

Think Persian radizio. Excellent kabobs, all you can eat, cooked to order. Go for the 3 kabob at dinner (sirloin, ground meat and chicken). And an outstanding buffet where the salads, stews, lamb shanks, and dilled rice range from very good to excellent. The house made flat bread has come up two notches already, and the owner indicates it will continue to improve.

La Fonda San Carlos, on Beaver Ruin Rd 1 minute from the intersection of Indian Trail and Beaver Ruin and two minutes from I-85 in Norcross is the most authentic Mexican place (both good and bad) I've encountered outside of Mexico proper (down to ice heaped in the splendidly tiled men's room urinals).

I'm partial to La Fonda's molcajete (an inverted stone volcano heated to sizzling point) which comes filled with a massive steak (sliced thick from the whole sirloin flap, or 'fajita')atop grilled cactus leaves, melted ranch cheese, grilled scallions, grilled tomato, roasted banana peppers and rice-- with whole beans (charros) served separately on the side. Accompanying salsas have never seen a tomato--only chilis or tomatillos.

The rice, the tomatoes, all the juices, bubble against the molocajete's sizzling stone surface to render up tantalizing glimpes of chow nirvana.

The fish ceviche and tacos de ceviche are made to order and very good. So are the caldos-shrimp with the shell, chicken, fish.

Sadly (or maybe good!!!), La Fonda gets no chowhound or local critical buzz. It may be that its just too genuine (have never seen another gringo there in a dozen visits) or too far from Atlanta's epicenter. But everyone at La Fonda is always extremely nice--which is a consistent hallmark of most every restaurant at every price point I've been to in Jalisco, Guanajato and Colima.

Next door to La Fonda is the best Mexican supermarket in Atlanta with its terrific butcher counter, and right in front is a pushcart where you buy ears of corn slathered with butter, chili etc.

The only thing keeping you from these two places should be the question of whether its more dangerous these days to fly, or to cruise out on I-85 to Norcross or north through 'every road with Bridge in its name' country to get to these places.

End of Update.

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