The Freakin Incan

Current Hubville has progressed into a diverse Peruvian food—well, hub. There are at least three restaurants with distinct interpretations. Mambo’s Cafe is perhaps more renowned for Cuban food, but the seafood-heavy Peruvian segment of the menu is where I’ve gravitated towards for a dozen or so years, including their previous locale. Touched on in “Sound Bites” last month, the recently-debuted A-Pollo Taqueria also features a Mexican bill of fare with handmade tortillas. However, their specialty is Peruvian roasted chicken (pollo a la brasa).

Let’s home in on an eatery with a Roswell mailing address, located in East Cobb—The Freakin Incan. The cookery commenced as a food truck but now features two brick and mortar locations, the other in Tucker.

Born in Peru, chef/owner Mikiel Arnold’s family moved to the US when he was six. However, in fulfilling his culinary school graduation requirements, Arnold went back to Peru for an externship under Chef Gaston Acurio at Astrid y Gaston in Lima. It appears he was a learned apprentice.

The Freakin Incan boasts at last two standout cold appetizers that most Americans might associate with as generally served hot. The Instagram-friendly causa de camaron is as flavorsome as it is visually appealing. Mashed potatoes are enhanced with lemon juice, mayonnaise, and yellow chili paste. The taste and texture are almost perfectly balanced with dispersed, small chunks of avocado. Ensconced with shrimp, this dish is an excellent beginning to a multi-course night.

Causa de camaron is a cold appetizer with flavored mashed potatoes, shrimp, and avocado.

To the less adventurous Americans among you, don’t be dissuaded by the thought of cold mashed potatoes. You like potato salad, right? So, chill (pun intended). It’s a similar concept. A bit more avocado would have established the ideal counterbalance, but this is a highly recommended plate.

Is it possible for pico de gallo to be too good? The choros a la chalaca is another cold choice with black mussels topped with the previously stated salsa cruda. But the pico de gallo is so robust it obscures the shellfish. This die-hard carnivore will tell you it’s the salsa that is the most addicting component of this first course. For the most conventional state-siders among you, my wife and son enjoyed the chicken wings, made with the highest quality Springer Mountain chicken. I assure you, they’ve had chicken wings from most of the highly rated providers within 20 miles.

Onward to the entrees. The opposite of the robust pico de gallo mussels dish, the sudado de pescado has delicate, though highly productive flavors. Essentially a very well-stocked soup, steamed mahi-mahi has a subtly tasty aji infused mussel broth, completed with rice.

Need a little more punch? Try the seco de res, a stew with large chunks of cilantro CAB beef, delivered with trimmings of canary beans and rice. Don’t take those beans for granted. As good as any bean dish I’ve had, it perfectly rounded out the repast.

My shrimp-adoring daughter delighted in the shrimp tallarin saltado so much that she ordered it on a return visit. Faintly analogous to lo mein it consists of stir-fried noodles blended with grilled green onions, fresh tomatoes, and soy sauce. Chicken and angus beef are other protein alternatives in addition to my offspring’s beloved shrimp.

Shrimp tallarin saltado loosely resembles a flavorful chow mein.

We finished off the meal with the uncomplicated but enjoyable alfajores, which is simply dulce de leche squeezed between two shortbread cookies.

Premiering his restaurant in 2015, Arnold moved the East Cobb/Roswell location to Woodstock Road and Sandy Plains in the Movie Tavern shopping center. Some will recall the unit as previously inhabited by Corner Pizza. The bright and casual establishment is family friendly. The craft beer list is relatively short, but impressive, loyal to the Georgia breweries.

Thus far, I’ve basked in a pleasurable medley of both moderately spicy and gentle, yet ambrosial dishes. Perhaps next excursion I will seek the Heritage Farm pork stew or maybe the Maple Leaf duck entree. I’m not sure, but what I am certain of is that a next time is required.

Sound Bites:

If you follow me (and why wouldn’t you) on Twitter @CalVulcan, you are aware of my adoration for all things Mitch’s Meats. The quality and quantity of soups headline the expansive inventory of reasons. I’ve consumed 55 or so different soups. But there are still a good dozen or so “Mitch’s quality” broths, pottages, stews, bisques, and chowders in Hubville. All three clam chowders at C&S Chowder House—Manhattan, New England, and Rhode Island—are sparkling examples. In the northernmost sector of Sandy Springs, Samad Mediterranean Grill and Market produces a wicket kibbey ball. Never Enough Thyme, which just opened up a second location, generates competition caliber Texas sirloin chili…

Few soups are “Mitch’s Meats quality,” but the Texas chili at Never Enough Thyme is high on the elite list. Joe is takin’ some home.

Taste… a Seasonal Bistro in Roswell has one of the least adventurous menus. Don’t discount it though. Best thing I’ve had here is the Friday special of shrimp and grits. That’s been taken up a notch with shrimp and chicken étouffée on grits. Also, the beef burgundy sandwich on baguette is worthwhile. The menu is safe as conceivable, but above average, with just-mentioned Friday special the shining city on a hill…

Taste… a Seasonal Bistro focuses on comfort food led by shrimp and chicken étouffée on grits.

And another excellent addition for Alpharetta City Center. Ponce City Market import Botiwalla adds Indian to the “street food” craze that is overtaking Alpharetta. On my first tour, I had lamb boti kabab roll with masala smashed potatoes. The latter is served with a sweet and slightly hot Maggi catchup. It’s a little roomier than the big-city location…

Once upon a year or so ago, bride snatched takeout from the dinner offerings at Emidio’s, a venerable Portuguese restaurant in the northern tip of North Springs. The family approved of the takeaway chow. My fledgling expedition in the interior and also for the lunchtime menu was a triumphant one. Some of the most flavorful marinara sauce I’ve ever relished hoisted the Italian clams to elite status.

The francesinhas (“little Frenchie”) is one of the most ascendant open-faced sandwiches I’ve swallowed this side of The Brown Hotel in Louisville, home of the acclaimed hot brown. The creation has “bottom layer of bread, topped with linguiça, with a fried egg then covered with melted cheese in a creamy tomato and beef sauce accompanied with fries.” I crowned it with pork as alternatives were chicken and steak. It’s no shock this place has thrived for years in the extreme right corner of a shoddy shopping center abounding with vacant units. ❍

Go to Louisville for a better must-be-eaten-with-a-fork sandwich than the francesinhas at Emidio’s.

When he’s not eating, which is rare, the author is CEO of Sports Handicapping website Offshore Insiders. His bride’s gift site, Duffy Gifts is the place to go for gifts for all occasions from My Thirty One Gifts.