Mojito’s Cuban-American Bistro is a pretty little restaurant in downtown Norcross on Peachtree, run by the Fernandez-Cortez family. I commute through Norcross in the evenings, and it had caught my eye while commuting, the name etched gracefully in script in their windows. Once inside, it’s far longer than it is wide, with wood paneling being the dominant interior element, and ceiling fans pointing the way to the back of the room.
Once inside, I was quickly seated, though the staff expressed concern about a party that was being held nearby, the noise that they might make. I assured them it wasn’t a concern and then got lost in their menu.
The most attractive dish to me was their shrimp creole, but I have Louisiana roots and I didn’t want my expectations of what a Louisiana shrimp creole is to diminish any feelings about the Cuban recipe. So I ordered a ropa viejo instead. This is a beef brisket simmered with peppers and onions in a tomato sauce. In the meantime I ordered beef empanadas as an appetizer.
The menu warns customers that the food may be a little slower than they might get from a chain, and the staff were obviously concerned about their party. And it did take a bit longer than a stock chain might, but it was rather pleasing watching staff of all ages, from the very young to grandfatherly men serving food to customers.
About the time the empanadas arrived, the owner appeared and introduced himself, and warned me that the sauce with the empanadas was habanero based and might be a little hot. I’m glad for the warning because it is hot, but not “to die a small death” hot. The empanadas were very good, by the way, nice crusty pastry stuffed with a mix of juicy meats and root vegetable. And the empanadas and the habanero sauce was enough to fulfill any need I had for complex flavor and heat.
I didn’t let them take that habanero sauce after the empanadas were gone, it was too good to leave behind.
The rojo vieja arrived, a decent sized serving and it was good. The meat was very tender, the rich tomato flavor came through clearly. It was not at all spicy, but I hated to waste that good habanero sauce, so I spiced up mine. There was white rice, black beans, and plantains with the dish, and the black beans and rice were good, but the plantains were excellent. They were a little crunchy outside, and creamy inside.
I picked up two desserts to go, fried plantains for my wife and a mango pie for my daughter and myself. My wife loved the plantains and she’s by far the pickiest eater in the family. The mango pie was also quite good.
The prices in Mojitos are reasonable, about 8 to 9 dollars for sandwiches, and entrees run from 10 dollars to 16 dollars. A typical entree costs 12 to 13 dollars.
Service is generally good. They are a family owned restaurant, so they don’t have an army of staff. They were focused on the big party when I arrived, but that soon ended and people, food and questions flowed my way. They ask the right questions, they do genuinely try to see that you’re comfortable, they are friendly and chatty and the owner comes out and speaks with you.
Verdict: Recommended, especially if you like tropical food. After trying the plantains, my wife told me I have to take her here soon, sometime.
Mojitos Cuban-American Bistro
35 South Peachtree Street,
Norcross GA, 30071.
You can get from Snellville to downtown Norcross quickly if you use the access road that parallels I-85 on the west, Brook Hollow Parkway. Take Ronald Reagan to Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Hill to I-85 S. Exit I-85 S at Indian Trail and at the intersection, head straight, do not turn left or right. Stay on the Parkway until you reach Mitchell Road. Turn right on Mitchell and take the road until you can go no further. At this point you are in Norcross and three turns from Peachtree Street (left, right, left).