So a few months ago A tells me she’s discovered this great chicken place and we have to go – turns out, it’s El Norteño at their new location.

El Norteño moved about a block east from it’s long standing location on Buford Highway (at the corner of Chamblee-Tucker Road) a while ago. In it’s original location, I was never much of a fan (I wrote about it here 3 1/2 years ago). There was always a thick cloud of white smoke billowing from the back and drifting down Buford Highway. As a barbecue guy, I can tell you nothing good comes of thick white smoke. It always smelled like plastic burning to me.

But it turns out that things have improved. While it’s a little inconsistent, the chicken is much improved. The marinade is subtle – ancho, garlic, cumin, oregano and vinegar are obvious, but every recipe varies and I’d be lying if I could tell you much more than that. The acrid smoke is gone, which probably helps as well.

The menu is large and varied – not limited to pollo asado. HX tried out a couple of tacos – lengua and barbacoa. He’s a fan of lengua (tongue), but didn’t care for the large chunks served here. Smaller bits charred on a plancha are preferred. The barbacoa is decent – slow-cooked and with a nice flavor.

The salsa bar made the journey down the street as well and is a little worse for wear – it doesn’t seem to be as well stocked at the new location…

The decor is bright and colorful, but be warned – more attention was paid to how it looks than how it fits normal humans. I’m 6’2″ and I feel like a little kid at the too tall tables.

El Norteño
Located on Chamblee-Tucker Road between Buford Highway & Shallowford Road

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