Much to the delight of Tex-Mex fans and “Happy Hour” fans in the Cumberland Mall area, Rio Bravo is back and we had to check it out!
Mention the words ‘Rio Bravo” to Atlantans over the age of 40 and chances are a big smile will break out on their face. The popular Tex Mex/Mexican restaurants located in Buckhead and on Northside Drive/Powers Ferry were favorites of the working set lunch crowds, after work “happy hour” patrons and couples and groups looking for good food, cold drinks and a no nonsense cantina to frequent on the weekends.
So imagine my reaction when I was told Ray’s Rio Bravo is back with a bright and sparkly new location on Powers Ferry Road. I immediately started getting nostalgic for those chips and salsa, those fajitas or maybe even a hamburger. (Huh?)
More on that burger in a bit, but what many have been asking for has come to fruition is Ray’s Rio Bravo at 6450 Powers Ferry, in the former site where a piano bar set for years. Ray Schoenbaum and his Rio Bravos have a history dating back to 1984, but have been out of sight, out of mind since the 90s. With many Atlantans clamoring for the “Rio Fresh, Rio Fun, Rio Bravo,” food and service that was offered at Rio Bravo, Ray has brought back the concept along with some of the original recipes and some tasty new offerings.
After parking in a convenient parking lot, you will enter through a bright and cheery entrance into an open floorplan bar and dining era. As you pass by a “Fresh Tortilla” machine, you mouth will start watering. Once you are seated, it won’t be long before a basket of fresh tortillas (made minutes ago) and a basket of chips appear to go along with the tasty salsa.
I’m going to devote a paragraph to the fresh tortillas because they deserve it. Out serve Stephanie admitted she’s addicted to the flour tortillas as well. They come hot and light and with marks showing they were just produced minutes ago. Can we have some more?
The menu is loaded with traditional appetizers including the chile con queso guacamole and nachos. New offerings would include the beef brisket tamales, and you will see Rio Bravo’s beef brisket throughout the menu. The brisket is smokey and simmering and it goes well in enchaildas and tacos. For fans of Rio Bravo back in the 90s, one of the best kept secrets on the menu was the hamburger. I know what you are going to say when it comes to ordering a hamburger at a Mexican restaurant, but it was fantastic. Although I didn’t opt for the burger on this visit, two gentlemen did sitting across from me and it again looked delicious.
The chicken in the tacos and combination platters is nicely marinated and lettuce and other additions are fresh and fit the portions. The Spanish rice is a home run as it is served hit and cooked perfectly. I don’t want to make a big deal about cooking rice, but some Mexican restaurants mess this up on a daily basis. Quite possibly our only beef (and the beef taco was fantastic) was that the menu hadn’t been updated with minor changes to the entrees listed. A minor bump in the road that I’m sure they will have fixed in the next week.
Let me warn you, the portions are big. This creates a great opportunity for sharing, or if you are the type of diner that likes taking food home, you will not be disappointed at Rio Bravo.
With those big portions, there may not be any room for dessert, but the menu does include three dessert items if you are interested. They include a Mexican Coca-Cola Cake a chocolate chimichanga and gelato or sorbet. You will have to make more than one visit to try your favorites.
Ray’s Rio Bravo also has a very complete Monday – Friday lunch menu with entrees starting at $9.95. This should prove to be popular with workers in the Cumberland Mall and Northside Drive area. I give it “5 Tacos” out of 5 for the fresh food, great service courtesy of Stephanie and those tortillas.
Ray’s Rio Bravo is located at:
6450 Powers Ferry Road, NW
Atlanta, GA 30339