February 8, 2010

Some Recent Bites: Taqueria Oaxaquena, Leon's Full Service

Haven't posted any restaurant reviews lately, been too busy and haven't had any really interesting meals out lately (sorry, Parker's on Ponce).  However, this week I'm feeling the need to post on two excellent restaurant stops in the past week.

I stopped in for lunch this week at Taqueria la Oaxaquena in Jonesboro. Jonesboro? WTF? Yeah, I said the same thing, once. But, now that I work in the area, Jonesboro and I are friends. And, it just so happens that Jonesboro has one of metro-Atlanta's top Mexican restaurants. That's Mexican restaurant; this ain't no On the Border, or Don Pablos. This is the real deal. Meredith Ford Goldman from Access Atlanta and John Kessler of the AJC claim it's the best Mex we've got. I think they are on to something.

Oaxaquena has the feel of a converted fast-food restaurant. The front of shop has a cafeteria-style bar set-up where a continuous stream of folks rambled in for take-out orders throughout the time I was there. I took a seat in the back and perused their enormous menu. There are staples that most of us would recognize from gringo-centric tex-mex places, but then there are specialties like their famous tlyuda-a large, fried corn masa that is topped with beans, cheese, aovocados, and other goodies. Like a big 'ol Mexican pizza.

I settled on a few tacos: cow cheek (yep, cow cheek), tongue (yep, tongue), al Pastor (pork), and a steak gordita.
The tacos were just packed with flavor, but it was all about the meats. Unlike tex-mex tacos, these babies were just loaded up with meat, that was succulent, tender, and seasoned perfectly. Served with simple, traditional toppings of cilantro and onions, they are ready to make you happy. The gordita was also delicious, a fresh-baked masa pocket that was fluffy and light, stuffed with succulent grilled steak that was shredded and topped with a cilantro-onion slaw and Mexican crema. Best part: the tacos were $1.99 each and the gordita, with a side of refried beans, was $3.50. I'll be back again. Soon.

Also stopped back in at Leon's Full Service this week. It's one of my favorite spots in Decatur, I just don't write about it here all the time.The thing that is cool about Leon's is they pay attention to detail. Every dish I've had there in my numerous visits is touched by some thing that makes the dish standout from food you get at just about any other pub in the land. From the pub frites with the multitude of dipping sauces, to the in-house house made pickles, and the madras curry catchup, there are little touches of brilliance on many of the dishes.

This time around, the lug nuts, a mix of seasoned nuts that changes often, were caramelized in brown sugar and curry. An addictive and delicious snack to munch while waiting for the meal.
There's also a special winter side dish recently added to the menu: Brussel Sprout Hash. It features shredded cooked brussell sprouts with fuji apples, sweet onions, and bacon. Served warm from the oven, it's a heavenly side dish if you dig on the 'ol sprouts. There was other food on the table including the tasty currywurst, and the grass-fed beef burger that rivals many of the better burgers in town. As always, Leon's crispy pub frites with goat cheese fondue were sublime.

I really love Leon's and don't always appreciate how cool it is...Decatur-you're lucky to have Leon's Full Service.


  1. Tacos made from "other" parts...yum! Why does the good stuff have to be so far away? I didn't realize how bored I was with gringo-centric until I read this...thanks!

  2. I'm mostly gringo, too. At least, I was.
    Only about 10 minutes south of the airport and worth the trip.
    I work about a mile away now...not good for the waist line...Cheers.

  3. I drive through Jonesboro once in a while. I'll look you up, Dude, when the need for tacos strikes!

    Kevin, I'd have to think there are some good tacos in Marietta or Roswell. Taqueria del Sol in Woodstock is okay, but it only serves Hollywood cuts of meat at Hollywood prices...