MILTON, Ga. — Medardo Briceno has paid his dues in the restaurant industry.
This soft-spoken man from Venezuela has worked nearly every job in the business.
He started in kitchen prep before working his way into the managerial ranks of Frontera, a chain of Atlanta-area Mexican restaurants. Following that gig, he worked for food service distributor Sysco.
Boga Taqueria, 12890 Ga. 9, marks a big stepping out, his first venture into restaurant ownership.
“I wanted to offer something different to Alpharetta, an experience like you would find in midtown,” said Briceno.
So don’t let his history with Frontera set any expectations you might have of Boga.
This restaurant is a far cry from the ubiquitous Mexican joints that fill suburban strip malls.
Speedy Gonzalez is nowhere to be found on the menu. That alone makes Boga worth a visit.
Boga’s menu is a mix of Mexican cuisine with some South American influences. Portion sizes are generous, especially for the money.
Most entrees are priced in the $8 to $10 range. Atop the menu is their taco selection. For $10 you mix and match three tacos.
The Taco al Pastor stood out.
This traditional Mexican favorite of pork, onion, pineapple and cilantro forms a harmony of flavors.
More pedestrian taco choices are available, such as ground beef and shredded chicken. Boga pokes a bit of fun at these choices, labeling them as “gringo.” This gringo passed on them.
A best seller is the El Macho. They start with a bed of lettuce and add a generous helping of braised pork or pulled brisket. Next come black beans and a few pieces of mango to tease with some sweetness. Delicious lime vinaigrette is drizzled above that. Finally, a large plantain is sprawled across the top. The presentation is beautiful. And don’t let the lettuce and vinaigrette fool you as El Macho does indeed live up to its name.
The talent in the Boga kitchen comes from chef Alfonso Huerta. His most recent gig was at Rio Nuevo on North Point.
Briceno described Huerta as “a MacGyver in the kitchen,” but not for judicious use of duct tape and Swiss army knives.
Huerta pulled a MacGyver with his dessert. His flan cheesecake was dazzling and amazingly delicious. It was the perfect marriage of two desserts that didn’t neglect anyone’s taste. The custard flavor from the flan was still there, but the cream cheese brought a dense richness. The caramel on the plate fanned out with flames on the edges covered by a layer of chocolate sauce. It almost looked like a total solar eclipse. It was as beautiful as it was culinary resourceful.
Music like Sergio Mendes’ “Mas Que Nada” dances out of speakers at Boga. It’s cool, hip and – more than anything – helps to create a cool vibe to this place. The modern and minimalist decor doesn’t hurt either, as it’s very well done. If this restaurant thing doesn’t work out, Briceno might consider a career in interior decorating. The work inside was all his effort, not contracted out.
But the decorating world will have to wait on Medardo Briceno. Boga Taqueria should be a serious contender for Mexican food in this area.
Editor’s Note: S. Lee Guy was given free food from this restaurant during his recent visit. All photos courtesy and property of Robyn Guy