With all of the buzz that Superica has gotten in the last week with its opening, I thought we needed to try Ford Fry’s earlier Mex-Tex offering in Atlanta, the El Felix. Located in the yuppy haven of Avalon in Alpharetta (think an outdoor shopping mall out of the Truman show, populated with upscale rednecks), it is one of thirteen restaurants in the complex, many of which are OTP outposts so that people don’t have to drive inside the loop to try Antico, Bantam & Biddy or Bocado. We arrived in the midst of the noon lunch hour, but were able to quickly grab a table for two.
We were seated to the right of the main entrance (the bar above is directly ahead of the doors – this view is through the concrete block wall that guides the path to the bathrooms). Shortly after being seated we were greeted with a basket of hot, salty tortilla chips and the two house made salsas – a mild smoked tomatillo sauce (left) and one with chopped chilis and creamed avocado (right). They were both excellent on the chips, although I preferred the tomatillo salsa on my meal itself.
The menu is “Mex-Tex”, a description from head chefs Ford Fry and Kevin Maxey of the food they “like to eat”, based on when Mexican chefs first tried to Americanize their tastes in the 1930s in Texas kitchens. The kitchen was off to our right and this window was constantly filled with entrees, rice, beans and chips. We looked over the menu for quite a bit before deciding.
It is more complicated than most “Mexican” restaurants as the entrees go beyond the same six ingredients mixed 346 ways. Jo chose the chicken tacos al carbon – fresh flour tortillas filled with wood-fired chicken and topped with an avocado salsa verde. This chicken was fantastic – tender, moist and smoky. I know how good it was because I exchanged an item from my plate for one of the tacos – “Sharing is Caring”, according to our server, who told us that was why the rice and beans were served family style.
I chose the the El Lopez – two cheese enchiladas, guacamole salad, crispy beef taco and chili con queso puff. (I swapped the guacamole salad for the chicken taco- it was served in a puff taco shell in which they also serve chicken and ground beef tacos – that would make for an interesting meal.) But these cheese enchiladas were the hit of the meal to me. A bite of that wood fired chicken atop a slice of enchilada was heavenly. This was not authentic Mexican like Nuevo Laredo, but it is authentically wonderful.
One of the entrees is a wood grilled skirt steak topped with a cheese enchilada and a fried egg – I can’t wait to go back and try that. Or, now that I see that it on the menu at Superica, know what I’ll be having next time we get to Krog Street Market.
This was one of the most pleasant food surprises that I’ve had in quite a while.