Saturday, June 27, 2009


48 Powder Springs St., Marietta

Last night my friend Erin and I ate dinner at Kiosco, a Columbian restaurant in the Marietta Square (or about 100 feet from it, down Powder Springs Rd.). It's small, with only seven or eight tables and a small but cute bar area. Marietta offers an abundance of Brazilian restaurants, but this is the first Columbian one I have seen, so I was anxious to try it.

Any time I have the opportunity to order sangria, I do, so Erin and I each enjoyed a glass. It was slightly above average. I liked the julienned slices of apple that floated amidst the burgundy liquid. It wasn't too strong, and it wasn't too weak. Two glasses should do it for a normal person.

We started with an appetizer of fried sweet plantains, which were good, although they screamed for salt. Once salted, they were delicious.

For the entree, I ordered a Columbian Tamale and Erin ordered the Medio Pollo al Horno, or half roasted chicken with raspberry sauce. The Columbian tamale was attractively presented on sage green colored steamed banana leaves. It contained carrots, tomatoes, pork and chicken, and was accompanied by a small, white corn bread. I wish it would have tasted as good as it looked. The corn bread lacked sufficient flavor. Not being familiar with Columbian food, I might be completely off on this, but I found the tamale (like the plantains) in great need of salt and the concoction itself to be too mushy, perhaps baked too long. I have no idea if banana leaves are considered edible or not, but in the spirit of adventure I tried a long piece of one, and found it too be too stringy to pursue. I rate the dish overall as average. The half chicken was a great value. For $11.95 the chicken was large and perfectly roasted, and the raspberry sauce was a surprising and unique condiment. Erin took at least half of it home with the intent to eat it for lunch the next day. Each entree came with either lentil soup or garbanzo bean salad, and Erin and I both opted for the salad. The salad included the beans, cilantro, lime juice, red onion and carrots. I liked it, but didn't love it. Columbians (or at least the ones running this restaurant) must be partial to carrots, because they were included in every dish, apart from the plantains.

For dessert we shared the figs in syrup with cheese. The figs were great, and I am always happy to spot them on a menu, especially in summer, because they aren't overly heavy. The syrup was hot and tasted of caramelized sugar. The cheese was unfortunately lacking. It reminded me of a less crumbly feta without the goat flavor. If that sounds difficult to imagine, just rely on the adjective "boring". I feel that figs and cheese are a nice combination and think that the dessert could definitely be improved by a cheese with a little more personality. Although I wasn't especially impressed with this dessert, I did like the looks of the dessert menu, which included passion fruit flan, coconut cobbler and bourbon cake as additional options. I definitely want to return and try one of these along with one of the dishes containing chorizo, which the restaurant claims is homemade.

In regards to the decor, the restaurant seems to be experiencing something of an identity crisis. The interior walls are dressed with black and white pictures of Marietta Square in the early part of the century, instead of photos or paintings of Columbia. There was almost no indication within the decor that the restaurant served authentic Columbian food, which is a shame, since that's presumably why the patrons are dining there. In the restroom there is a nice woven picture of what appears to be the Columbian hills, but on the adjacent wall there is (incongruously) a sketch of an Italian cafe. Several establishments in the Square, including the Strand theatre and Shillings on the Square, already have lots of Square memorabilia. Kiosco should take a lesson from the unpretentious but successful Australian Cafe around the corner and be itself.

It is noteworthy that the restaurant is currently offering a special of one appetizer, two entrees and a pitcher of sangria for $35, a good deal if you can stop there for dinner on Monday through Thursday nights. As Erin and I ate at the restaurant on Friday night, the deal wasn't applicable to us, but we spent about the same amount of money.

Verdict: Kiosco is worth a try and probably won't disappoint. Your best bet is to eat dinner there on a Thursday, when you can partake of the $35 full meal for two deal, then stroll over to the Atlanta Lyric Theatre (at the Strand) and catch a high quality musical. Make the most of a night in the Square at these unique venues.

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