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Sabores del Plata restaurant review, Norcross

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Behold the Parrillada del Plata, otherwise known as the Great Mountain of Meat. Do you dare to scale it? Start at base camp, where tira de asado (short rib) and vacio (flank steak) await. Climb up a steep face of pechuga de pollo (chicken breast) and molleja (sweetbreads). By the time you reach the chorizo (juicy link sausages) and morcilla (sweetly spiced blood sausages), you are nearly to the summit. There you will find curving ropes of chinchulines, their grill-seared crackly skins contrasting nicely against the soft, livery meat within. These are small intestines.

John Kessler is the chief dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

John Kessler is the chief dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

But if that’s not a stop on the old digestive tract you care to make, then know this: There’s a really terrific $10 dish of steak and french fries.

Also: Towering sandwiches on house-baked bread. Memorable pastas. Layer cakes so massive you worry the waitress won’t have the strength to lift them from their display case in the corner of the dining room. There is a lot of good — and sometimes terrific — food to try at Sabores del Plata.

This Buford Highway restaurant serves the cooking of Uruguay and Argentina, the two South American countries separated by the Plata River and estuary. That translates as a winning mixture of asado (i.e., assorted grilled meats), South American-style Italian dishes and all kinds of baked goods — from dense, crusty dinner rolls, to cakes, cookies, empanadas and pizzas. After three visits, I’ve barely made a dent in the latter because, frankly, I’ve been too busy stuffing my face full of meat.

Welcome to Sabores del Plata! (photos by Becky Stein)

Welcome to Sabores del Plata! (photos by Becky Stein)

Those first great mouthfuls come at lunch over a chivito sandwich ($8.99). Though the name means “little goat,” nearly every farm animal but the goat contributes to this masterpiece. A thin beef filet gets star billing, but the supporting cast includes bacon, hard-boiled egg, roasted peppers, tomatoes and a nifty envelope of ham stuffed with mozzarella cheese that had been crisped on the griddle. What seals the deal is the crusty house-baked bread that tastes of many generations of Italian immigrant knowledge, as inimitable as a Philadelphia hoagie roll.

The Hamburguesa del Plata ($8.99) deserves a spot on the grand Atlanta hamburger tour. Two patties, cooked to a black crunch on the griddle, share a soft bun with bacon, ham, a fried egg, lettuce, tomato and lavish smears of mayonnaise. It all comes together into something soft and holdable that your mouth wants to keep opening wide for. The meat isn’t juicy, but the textures keep the pleasure quotient high.

A mountain of meat: La Parrillada del Plata.

A mountain of meat: La Parrillada del Plata.

The menu items here are familiar in some ways and not in others. Lasagna del Plata ($10.99), for instance, starts with a layering of soft crêpes and cooked spinach. Then the whole gets buried in drifts of white béchamel sauce like a driveway in a snowstorm. Finally, the kitchen ladles on tuco — a bolognese sauce holding chunks of well-stewed brisket. The more you eat, the more the components mush together into a conglomerate of yum.

the Chivito sandwich has everything but the goat

the Chivito sandwich has everything but the goat

Meat is the heart of the matter in nearly every dish here. Start with gorgeous, flaky empanadas ($1.99) stuffed with olive-flecked ground beef filling, move on to thick slices of braised tongue in vinaigrette ($4.99, a steal) and dine on a breaded (if somewhat too mild) chicken cutlet ($8.99) that covers an entire dinner platter. Vegetarians who walk into this restaurant may want to collapse on the floor, sobbing.

But you, friend, have the Mountain of Meat to conquer. My wife and I attempt the parrillada for two ($30.99) and gasp when the brasero (a portable brazier) lands on our table.

A few notes on it. The sweetbreads are not cleaned of their connective tissue as they would be in a fancier restaurant, but that’s easy enough to accomplish with your knife, and they’re perfectly delicious after a dunk in the accompanying chimichurri sauce. The blood sausage tastes of onion, clove, sweetness, and love, and you will get over any squeamishness fast. The small intestine will prove more difficult. (Apparently, the cows fast a day prior to slaughter so their chinchulines are not, shall we say, a synonym for “prone to espousing falsehoods.” I hope that helps.)

But let me tell you about the entraña ($9.99) — a thick cross-section of skirt steak that has the beefy flavor of hanger steak. It comes with a side of choice, such as fries, fine mashed potatoes or Caesar salad. I can’t imagine there’s a better $10 steak in metro Atlanta.

Sweet finale

Chaja: a sweet finale

Sabores del Plata is also a cheerful place. Plain, yes, but brightened with murals of tango dancers and caricatures of well-known South Americans. The staff welcomes newcomers warmly and makes plenty of recommendations.

Afterward, you might be too full for anything but an espresso. But follow your waitress’s recommendation if she steers you toward a fat slice of chaja ($4.50). We dove into this multi-layered assemblage of soft cake, peaches, dulce de leche, whipped cream and shards of meringue, finding reserves of appetite we didn’t know we still possessed. Sabores del Plata will do that to you.

SABORES DEL PLATA
6200 Buford Highway, Norcross, 678-743-4671
3stars5
Food: A wide range of Uruguayan and Argentine specialties
Service: Friendly and welcoming, though some servers speak more English than others
Best dishes: Chivito sandwich, entraña steak, lasagna, parrillada
Vegetarian selections: Some sides, but this restaurant is a carnivore’s delight
Credit cards: All major cards
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays; 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sundays
Children: A great choice for kids
Parking: Self-parking in lot
Reservations: Yes
Wheelchair access: Full
Smoking: No
Noise level: Loud TV at lunch, moderate at night
Patio: No
Takeout: Yes

ratings_key_febUSE

34 comments Add your comment

Veggie

July 19th, 2012
9:24 am

Great…the poor cow doesn’t even get a last meal, all for your pleasure.

K

July 19th, 2012
10:42 am

Merits a drive, yeah. Try some rusa for your side. Portions are big enough, appetizer plus parrillada for one feeds a family of four.

Bacchus

July 20th, 2012
11:56 am

ATL Fatty

July 20th, 2012
12:33 pm

I love french fries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Synkel

July 20th, 2012
1:02 pm

Synkel

July 20th, 2012
1:03 pm

Message to Veggie

Alex

July 20th, 2012
2:23 pm

Great, now I have a craving for Choripan.

Even Better

July 20th, 2012
3:00 pm

Thanks a lot…,Now I have to go research to see what Choripan is….

M

July 20th, 2012
3:25 pm

The thin breaded beef napolitan is one of the best plates as well. Omg, I’m craving some!!

GeoffDawg

July 20th, 2012
4:16 pm

Don’t worry Veggie, I’m sure the Chik-Fil-A cows will boycott once they resolve this gay marriage controversy.

A voice for those that cannot speak for themselves

July 20th, 2012
7:20 pm

It’s true-disgusting creatures are our species. We eat these animals, that are like us in every respect, except they are caged. Why are we eating meat like this in such consumption that we have forgotten that we killed and slaughtered a breathing animal just so we could eat in excess, that no doubt is filled with hormones, antibotics, and was forces to eat genetically modified food that has been sprayed with pesticides. Have you ever thought about what you are doing. If we didn’t eat meat then we would not have to worry about heart problems, for the most part. Read up on this and then take pleasure in the animal you tortured so that you could fill you plate and the heart problems and cancer you are inviting in your own life.

A voice for those that cannot speak for themselves

July 20th, 2012
7:24 pm

The owner of chick is a disgusting person who kills one animal to save another. Then says god told him this is the way to serve the world, in gods name. He is full of it and is trying to market us with his religion, while killing things at the same time.

Ol Animal Kingdom Actor

July 21st, 2012
7:57 pm

@ A voice for those that cannot speak for themselves

You can kindly go suck on a dill weed or if you want to live on the wild side –> Go blow a meat whistle..

Peanut gallery

July 21st, 2012
8:09 pm

Lol the PETA fanatics are so righteously retarded.

Too bad their kids are short and malnourished because their fanatical parents starve them.

Ned Ludd

July 21st, 2012
9:06 pm

That is one weird page when you click the highlighted link supposedly to the restaurant’s site.

Baltisraul

July 22nd, 2012
7:06 am

A voice for those that cannot………..you are one wierd dude, pal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give this guy a hankie.

femmefatale

July 22nd, 2012
11:23 am

Interesting artwork on the wall.

Baltisraul

July 22nd, 2012
12:02 pm

femmefatale……not nteresting art work, bodasious art work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Debra

July 22nd, 2012
3:13 pm

The food may be wonderful; the ambience to die for. But with that racist caricature on the wall, I will never set food in that damn place. I’m sticking to Mi Pilon – the best Latin Caribbean food in Atlanta.

Southsiderswhodineintown

July 22nd, 2012
5:44 pm

We went for the parrillada for two. The food came cold and we had to send our food back to be reheated. In the end, disappointed.

Baltisraul

July 22nd, 2012
6:14 pm

Debra……you may be the only person in ATL that thought that art work was racist. Don’t look now, but there is a communist in your wood shed too.

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Disappointed

July 23rd, 2012
8:09 am

Would love to go eat there, but wish they didn’t have that vulgar drawing on their wall; surely they could have left that out. I am sad to miss out on the foods of my childhood and cultural heritage. That is not the kind of image I want my child to be looking at and find it in poor taste. This is reason enough to keep us away from there, sadly. I can and will choose what I can control at this point in my child’s development as he will see enough that cannot be controlled as far as the cheapening and debasement of females goes. Replace that trash with some other celebrity that dresses in a normal manner and we would love to go there and surely return many times. I mean, seriously? Did they not consider that families might want to dine there?

Debra

July 23rd, 2012
8:12 am

Baltisraul, actually, everyone who looked at the photo agreed that it was racist. Guess there are a lot of communists hiding in woodsheds all over the country…

Rodrigo

July 23rd, 2012
9:10 am

Wow! It is about time that Atlanta has a place like this. I moved here from Miami two years ago and I have really missed the Argentine steak houses with the parrilladas. All Atlanta needs now is an Argentine butcher & market and I’ll be all set.

Rick

July 23rd, 2012
9:42 am

We went yesterday for lunch based on John’s review. We sat next to a table for 4 other patrons who were there for the same reason. The empanadas are the best I have had in the metro area. I ordered the Chivito sandwich which was so good all conversation stopped immediately. My wife had the skirt steak with vegetables. Part of the steak was a little tough but very flavorful. We shall be back. The staff is so very friendly and helpful.

harrumph

July 23rd, 2012
3:27 pm

Yeah, but they don’t have the ‘chocolate wonderfountain’ or cotton candy

Baltisraul

July 24th, 2012
6:53 am

Debra….you may be right. The people who are artist may dissagree. Like the great Leo Doroucher once said…”one mans sh-t is another mans ice cream”.

Pelo

July 24th, 2012
12:22 pm

Maybe I missed something, but what exactly is racist about the mural? The fact that there is a caricature of a black woman? How exactly does that convey the belief in the genetic superiority of one race over another?

Lisa

July 24th, 2012
5:16 pm

Debra, If you were to actually study a bit of the uruguayan culture you would realize that the black lady painted on the wall is a very well known uruguayan personality just like all the other well known personalities that are painted on the wall and they are actually honoring them by printing them on their restaurant wall, but you wouldnt know that instead you assume it was racist…wonder why?

Lisa

July 24th, 2012
5:25 pm

And here is the history of the black lady painted on the wall…the Great Rosa Luna….how can that be racism???

Rosa Amelia Luna ( Montevideo , Uruguay , 1939 – Canada , 1993 ), dancer and cabaret star of carnival Montevideo.

Born in Conventillo Mediomundo , emblematic site of the black community of Uruguay. She was an icon of the Uruguayan carnival, and a vedette was imposed for his strong personality and exuberant figure. She was also a choreographer .

From the 1960’s became the top female figure, rivaling the hitherto unbeatable Gularte Martha .

Her early death, when she was on tour in Canada, surprised the public and deprived the maximum Parade-party calls the black-a presence impossible to replace.

Rose of the dark. Rose of the drums. Coal with gigantic breasts and bronze. Rose of the carnival. Flower of the black race that you planted in the Palermo neighborhood. Made of bronze were born street for winning coal and absolute, powerful and fragile. Fragile because you only flower carnivals, when Palermo South and get off the ground and put up the banners. And then the hard acometes company being yourself a banner of meat. A flamboyant sexual bobbing drum, a drum walking the narrow streets of your fief, the fief of blacks. And between sweat and tears of glitter make you dance the drummers, music you fertilize to give birth to a dream. I dream of dominating and redemptive dream you owned and possessed. For the duration of your splendor brown take you round the center of the ritual of carnival. Then you will remember, as before were Gularte and Johnson. And Arriarán your flag with respect. Is to emerge a black successor to light the fires to warm the slices where the so-called carnival. And your moon rose, the rose of your name, your race’s moon, light up the cobblestone streets, alleys poor saw you pass under the windows in time that marked the dark with his hands drumming troupes. Rose of the dark. Rose of the drums. Coal with gigantic breasts and bronze

John Kessler

July 24th, 2012
5:39 pm

Lisa – Thanks so much for the information.

optimist

July 25th, 2012
3:54 pm

OK so this sounds like a place to go, especially now that the mural can be explained! But will I regret trying the chinchulines, or can the taste be acquired?

John-is-slipping

July 26th, 2012
1:15 am

We must’ve looked stoopid or something because everything on our plate of “parrillada for two @ $30.99″ looked like a hold over from the night before! everthing looked dry, and warmed over, even the side of veggies and the potato.
I think John must have given them a heads up to be served a beautiful dish as pictured above, and had his eyes on the servers as he wrote the review!
I can assure you the tip I left leaned more towards their looks than what the wife and I attempted to eat..
@ Optimist.. You will NEVER acquire a taste for “day old” offal.. Trust me!