Review: Dos Burros caters to bar-hopping crowd on Atlanta’s Eastside Beltline

Dos Burros offers 10 tacos, each priced at $5. The $15 taco special brings a choice of two tacos with black or refried beans and Mexican rice. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Dos Burros offers 10 tacos, each priced at $5. The $15 taco special brings a choice of two tacos with black or refried beans and Mexican rice. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Atlanta restaurateurs Nhan Le, Skip Engelbrecht and Andy Tan are no strangers to prime Beltline real estate. Before launching their quickly growing seafood concept Fishmonger, Le and Engelbrecht navigated 8Arm, located across the street from Ponce City Market, through multiple iterations until shuttering it permanently in 2022 following the sale of the property. Meanwhile, Tan spent four years running Vietnamese restaurant Lady Ha in the Ford Factory Lofts building facing the Beltline and PCM before determining that pho wasn’t what the people craved.

Fun, fast-paced, grab-and-go food is what Le, Engelbrecht and Tan had in mind when they teamed up to open Dos Burros on the Beltline.

Debuting just after Thanksgiving, the restaurant serves a simple menu of Mexican street fare — a la carte tacos, burritos, chips and guac, nachos and ceviche, as well as a margarita-leaning cocktail list and plenty of beer, including some from Tan’s Hopstix brewery in Chamblee.

They have created an easy, drink-and-dash experience. Parking isn’t a pain, if you nab a spot at the Ford Factory Lofts surface lot off Ponce de Leon Avenue (free for up to two hours). And the menu is built for speed: a basic tomato salsa or warm queso garnished with jalapenos arrives, along with a basket of chips, within minutes of ordering.

The culinary operation is led by Domingo Gallardo Salome, who has worked at Le’s East Atlanta Village restaurant So Ba for the past 14 years and continues to supervise that kitchen, too. Gallardo Salome, who is from Guerrero in southwest Mexico, had been doing taco pop-ups at Le’s Octopus Bar. At Dos Burros, he has a permanent place to showcase his tacos and other plates.

The ceviche at Dos Burros brings citrus-marinated shrimp and octopus in a thick pool of seasoned Clamato, with a garnish of avocado slices and a basket of chips. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

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Credit: Ligaya Figueras

A generous goblet of ceviche, for example, was made in the style of the Costa Chica, along Guerrero’s coast. It was thick and viscous with Clamato, but the fresh flavors of citrus-cured shrimp and octopus were overpowered by the tomato.

Taco fillings are traditional. The list of 10, each priced at $5, consists of the usual suspects, such as al pastor, barbacoa, carne asada and carnitas, topped with radish slices, cilantro and lime wedges and served with classic salsa roja and verde. The one that stood out was the lengua — beef tongue braised to a delicious tenderness, but still retaining lots of texture.

Neither vegetarian option — a mushroom taco or a version with roasted poblano pepper strips — was wowza enough to warrant a repeat order. While the pulled pork for the carnitas was flavorful, the corn tortilla split under the moisture; the dish would have benefited from a second tortilla.

The restaurant has begun to widen the menu, adding such items as a $15 taco special that comes with any two tacos, a choice of black beans or refried beans, and Mexican rice. My combo order was the lengua, carne asada, creamy-smooth refried beans, tomato-infused arroz and a side of elote, slicked with crema and flecked with chile powder.

Mexican beef soup teeming with vegetables was a recent daily special at Dos Burros. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

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Credit: Ligaya Figueras

However, it was the daily specials that most piqued my taste buds — homestyle dishes, such as a filling plate of pork ribs in a sour, citrusy tomatillo sauce with terrific body; or sopa de res — Mexican-style beef and vegetable soup loaded with carrots, squash and small wheels of corn on the cob. Gallardo Salome plans to make soups a regular offering Fridays through Sundays and to introduce weekend brunch items, such as chorizo with potato and eggs. But with him mostly working the line, along with his wife, Maria Teresa Aquino Garcia, such changes will take time.

So will some aspects of the beverage program. The restaurant offers four of Tan’s Hopstix brews on tap, including Rice and Shine, a Japanese-style lager made with jasmine rice, but the goal is to expand the list and brew beers exclusive to Dos Burros. Mexican brands, including Corona, Dos Equis and Modelo, are there to please the masses.

Cocktails developed by Beverage Director Joshua Grubb are fun, without being muddled by frivolous ingredients. There’s a straightforward house margarita and a perfectly acceptable, smokier mezcal version. Among the alcohol-free drinks, house-made cucumber agua fresca was sweeter than anticipated, but still clean and cucumber-forward. Horchata was deliciously milky and scented with cinnamon. Next time, I’ll try it in Grubb’s rum-based dirty horchata.

The beverage menu at Dos Burros includes a mezcal-based margarita (right) as well as nonalcoholic drinks, such as cucumber agua fresca (left). Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

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Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Service from bartenders and staff was relaxed and professional. They’ve done this before, and it shows.

Likewise, the owners showed themselves to be old pros in refreshing the two-story interior of the former Lady Ha in just three weeks. They eschewed cliched Mexican restaurant decor in favor of pockets of coral red and neon pink. And varied bar and table seating on both levels — as well as on the patio next to the Beltline — makes it easy to accommodate any size party.

At a time when the walkers, joggers, strollers and scooters that clog the Eastside Beltline have more bar and restaurant options than ever, Dos Burros’ slow, steady approach to building a menu might enable it to become a regular stop along the trail.

With a patio and two levels of interior dining — both with a bar — Dos Burros offers seating for all party sizes. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

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Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Dos Burros

1 out of 4 stars (good)

Food: Mexican taqueria

Service: speedy, but relaxed and professional

Noise level: low

Recommended dishes: special of the day, elote, queso, lengua taco, carne asada taco, churros

Vegetarian dishes: elote, guacamole, chips and salsa, queso, quesadilla, churros, rice and beans, nachos (without added protein), spicy corn rajas taco, mushroom taco

Alcohol: full bar.

Price range: $ (Less than $25 per person, excluding drinks)

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays

Parking: two hours of free parking at Ford Factory Lofts lot; paid parking at Ponce City Market

MARTA: North Avenue Station

Reservations: no

Outdoor dining: yes

Takeout: yes

Address, phone: 699 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, 678-990-8954

Social media: instagram.com/dosburrosatlanta

About The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s restaurant review process: The AJC’s dining critics conduct reviews anonymously. Reservations are never made in their name, nor do they provide restaurants with advance notice about their visits. Our critics always make multiple visits, sample the full range of the menu and pay for all of their meals. When reviewing new restaurants, AJC dining critics wait at least one month after the restaurant has opened before visiting.

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