That gooey queso you're used to? It's replaced by a delicious concoction called Queso Morelos, panela cheese simmered with cilantro and topped with peppers, chorizo, mushrooms and sour cream. Si, we'll take that upgrade.Call it a taqueria, call it a tequila bar... but whatever you do, don't call Zapata a Tex-Mex spot. Determined to give Norcrossians a taste of the real deal, the restaurant serves nothing like what you can find in Señor Happy's Taco Emporium—no goopy refried beans, no gringo queso, certainly no fresh-from-the-freezer reheated enchiladas. And even though that might be what we're all used to 'round these parts, you won't miss it.
That gelatinous queso you're used to? It's replaced by a delicious concoction called Queso Morelos, panela cheese simmered with cilantro and topped with peppers, chorizo, mushrooms and sour cream. Si, we'll take that upgrade. We'll take that right along with a big bowl of goodness called Molcajetes, the restaurant's signature dish of ingredients cooked in a volcanic stone bowl and topped with tomatillo sauce, queso fresco and nopal cactus. Veggie lovers can opt for the primavera, while those who want to go all out should head straight for the Azteca: a big ol' bowl of beef, shrimp, chicken and chorizo.
What awaits behind Zapata's bar is just as tempting as the menu: tequila. Lots and lots of the stuff, and the bartenders can truss it up into drinks that won't bring back your college days. The margaritas are all organic, with fresh juices and agave nectar (i.e. no frozen mixers or grossly viscous syrups). But if you want it straight-up, we recommend heading for Zapata's house infusions, ranging in flavor from strawberry to tamarind to serrano peppers. So there's the authentic Mexican food and the quality tequila action, and to go along with our theme of "not your average crappy Tex-Mex," there's also some really cool decor, with a dark handmade wood bar, wooden "chandelier" beams holding overhead candles and all the furniture imported straight from Mexico. Give Señor Happy's a fond farewell, because this is going to be your new spot for real Mexican food. We can't say we'll miss the refried beans of yore.
Tacos Mazatlan, $10
Baja Calamari, $10
Queso Morelos, $8
Azteca Molcajetes, $18.50
Monday - Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. & 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday & Friday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, noon to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.