My go-to family dinners, when I can't think of anything else, are quesadillas and fajitas. My family has even requested them. I'd been to restaurants that served these dishes and, although they were delicious, didn't leave me thinking they were impossible to recreate.
A trip to in Stone Mountain put my little efforts to shame.
After looking over the big menu of myriad choices, I ordered the fajita special with shrimp. It's a good thing I didn't pig out too much on those complimentary crispy tortilla chips and spicy salsa, because my food arrived less than ten minutes after I ordered.
At first glance, I didn't see much shrimp, and was thinking maybe I should have ordered the chicken instead. I was wrong; the shrimp was plentiful, seasoned and grilled to perfection -- it was just a little hidden beneath the guacamole, rice and sour cream. I enjoyed every bite. It would take a few tries for me to get the taste right at home.
The nice-size portions left just a little room for dessert. I was going to try the fried ice cream, but Ray, the server and the cashier -- who sweetly tolerated my limited Spanish -- suggested the flan.
It had been years since I'd had flan. When I return to El Torero, I"ll have to remember to get a to-go box for half my meal so I'll have more room to savor El Torero's sweet, firm flan.
The restaurant is huge and has large roomy booths. There weren't a lot of customers when I was there, because I came in at the tail end of its lunch hour. Up-tempo music from the El Patron radio station played while I dined. It was a very pleasant, authentic atmosphere. My go-to family dinners may have to be from El Torero from now on.
El Torero Mexican Restaurant, which has several locations in metro Atlanta, is at 1944 Rockbridge Rd. in Stone Mountain, 30087. Phone number: 770-465-9684. Monday - Saturday lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; dinner 5 p.m. - 10 p.m; closed Sunday.