The El Escorpion experience begins the moment you walk up to the door and see the huge metal scorpion leering down at you as you enter. Once inside your senses are bombarded on multiple levels all crying out for attention; the buzz of the patrons at the bar, the aroma of braised meats as a plate of tacos whizzes by, and the colors and textures of the ambitious décor. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but the electricity on a busy night is almost intoxicating.
El scorpion is the latest Latin concept from Riccardo Ullio (Sotto Sotto, Fritti) who shuttered three previous Midtown concepts ( Cuerno, Lupe and Beleza); the restaurant is at 800 Peachtree at the corner of 5th street.
The restaurant design touches on a little of everything Latino, from Mexican inspired art, to skeletons, to some really awesome fur-backed bar stools; there’s even a menacing skull and cross bones relief on the ceiling…
The bar area is huge, and has several tall tables and a few larger ones in an area tucked away from the main dining room. Their focus is on tequila naturally, and they have two mixologists on staff to whip up crazy concoctions to satisfy children of all ages!
The menu is similar to the Lupe concept, but with more refined dishes; it focuses on tacos, ceviches and other Mexican specialties like tamales. The tacos come with corn tortillas (plus in my book) and in several different incarnations like goat, braised tongue and shrimp! We tried several of them, but the tongue was probably my favorite; it was hands down the most juicy, tender morsel I have put in my mouth in several months. It was so juicy that each bite had to be taken over the plate in fear of leaving an embarrassing stain on my pants…
We also tried the salsa trio, which had good flavor, but there was zero spice even though the mango salsa was supposed to be the hottest. Other menu standouts included the watermelon tuna ceviche and the green pork tamale.
Our server was very knowledgeable and attentive and really seemed to enjoy working there…always a good sign. There were several items I didn’t try and several libations I would have loved to partake in that warrant another visit, but I hope people give the place a chance and sample the food instead of chalking it up to a bar that serves food. I have read a few bad reviews from bloggers (most always seem to expect too much from new restaurants), but both of my visits were great and I look forward to going back and taking friends; just don’t ask me to eat the worm!