Mojito mind eraser: Located in a largely vacant Marietta strip mall, Raul's exterior yields no clues as to its cool, dark, beach party interior. A lengthy mojito menu catches your attention first. This Cuban favorite of rum, mint, lime and soda is offered in many permutations ($5.50 each). In addition to getting the party started fast, the mojitos prove perfect companions to the dishes we tried.
Take a pass on the tapas: A Saturday night outing to Raul's winds up being as much fun as legally possible. Even though the drinks could not be any cooler or more refreshing, the service is a little out-to-lunch, and the tapas we try leave something to be desired. Puerto Rican-style tamales with pork ($3) are cement-heavy and musky in all the wrong ways. There's barely any pork in the thick-as-a-brick tamale and what bits we can find are tasteless.
Coco mahi-mahi ($6) sports a toasty panko crust, but there's no discernible coconut flavor -- just an overpowering fishiness. Shrimp empanadas ($5) would be delightful if sold at a street-side stand for $1, with their flaky, lardy crusts and savory interior. But we couldn't find shrimp anywhere in the filling. Bacalaitos ($5), however, are delicious drinking snacks. Flat, chewy, crusty cakes of salted cod, the little treats are served with a guava salsa whose freshness and sparkling flavor tantalize us into ordering one helping after another.
Can't go wrongo with mofongo: The atmosphere during a Sunday lunch is more subdued, but the potential for serious throw-down partying is still in the air. Grilled chicken breast ($10) sounds like bland diet food, but is a wonderfully succulent prize of "mojito-marinated" fine white meat with a zesty sautee of tomatoes, onions and garlic. Accompanying black beans are firm and creamy, and the side of yellow rice is aromatically perfect.
Usually served as a side dish, at Raul's the mofongo ($11) is a main course with chunks of fried pork topping the nutty plantain-pork rind mixture. Beef broth is served with the dish, to pour over the meat and plantains, creating a starchy, hearty delight. It's superb eating, restorative after a long night, or as a solid base for extending your night until midday ... should the music and mojitos inspire you to do so.
Great writeup Austin...Kraig has done a fantastic job curating HopCity's selection and educating his customers…
Some really great events going on this spring, hard to know which ones to visit.
Garden & Gun is my favorite.
When I first started hearing about this place, it was being promoted as a neighborhood…
I'm so proud of you Andrew!! I can't wait to come visit!! All our love…