Thursday, August 7, 2008

Restaurant Reviews: Taqueria del Sol and Watershed Fried Chicken Night

Turns out there is some great eating on Ponce in Decatur...

I heard recently that Watershed's Tuesday fried chicken night was not to be missed, so last week the boyfriend and I headed out to Decatur straight after work. I figured normal people under the age of 60 rarely eat dinner before 7 so we'd have no problem getting a seat. Well, we were wrong. Very wrong. At 6:30 we were faced with an hour and a half wait. Having read that the fried chicken usually runs out by 8, that didn't seem like a worthwhile venture, so we headed to Taqueria del Sol instead. Previously I'd tried to eat at that restaurant, only to find myself facing a line that stretched well out of the door. Fortunately this time we were able to place our order quickly.

I can see now why Taqueria had such a line. The vibe is low key and every dish we ordered was delicious. I liked the idea of melding southern and Mexican cooking, so the memphis taco with bbq pork was a must-try. I was not disappointed. The meat was tender; the tequila bbq sauce was delightfully sweet and tangy and the jalapeno cole slaw offered a nice kick.

I also ordered the fish taco, which was served incredibly simply - just lightly fried fish, a little tartar sauce, and some jalapenos. Although not as interesting as the memphis taco, the fish taco was great. The fish was both light and crispy and the jalapenos were pleasantly fiery addition. Simple is often best when it comes to Mexican, and this definitely did the trick.

The boyfriend and I also shared a beef brisket enchilada with beef red chili sauce. The sauce was addictively tasty, and I was lucky the boyfriend didn't stab me with a fork to keep me away. I didn't try the fried chicken taco, but the boyfriend did admit that it wasn't as tasty as everything else. Still, there's more than enough delicious on this menu to keep me coming back, although I'm still not sure I'm up for a 30 person line to place my order.

Having failed at our first attempt to eat at Watershed on a Tuesday, we were smart enough to make reservations this week. We had a table for 6 at 6:15 and once again found the place packed. There was no question in my mind that fried chicken was the order of the night. I read in an old NY Times article that Watershed's chef, Scott Peacock, actually lived with Edna Lewis, the elderly woman who originated the fried chicken recipe. It merited a NY Times mention, so this must be some seriously good chicken, right?

Indeed, it was delicious chicken! In fact, it was so lip smacking, carb scarfing delicious that my glass of water that some previous patron had generously stained with red lipstick didn't phase me. Our waiter was a delight and seemed genuinely pleased to ply us with fried chicken. The biscuits were buttery and delicious, especially smeared with honey, and the mashed potatoes were creamy perfection. Granted, I probably haven't eaten fried chicken in at least five years, so I have little to compare it too, but everyone at our table agreed that it was absolutely delicious. Clearly, this is a recipe worth passing down through the generations.

I wouldn't recommend eating something like fried chicken all that often lest you bring on heart failure and diabetes simultaneously, but Watershed's fried chicken night strikes me like a worthwhile Atlanta tradition to check out, and even better, it's one that the entire family can enjoy. The restaurant was filled that night with multi-generational families scarfing down some majorly tasty chicken.

Watershed
Pros: amazing fried chicken, family friendly
Cons: Tuesday nights are super crowded and reservations are required

406 W Ponce De Leon Ave
Decatur, GA


Taqueria del Sol
Pros: Unique southern meets Mexican flavors, inexpensive
Cons: long lines

359 W Ponce De Leon Ave

Decatur, GA


Taqueria Del Sol on Urbanspoon

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