by VICTORIA HENLEY
Mexican cuisine is known and loved for hearty favorites such as fajitas, chalupas, beans and rice and, of course, classic margaritas.
Rarely do you see artful, viscerally pleasing, and aesthetically prepared Mexican dishes at restaurants or cantinas, but on a visit to Lumbre, an upscale eatery in Sylvester, Ga., that is precisely what you can expect.
Owned and operated by the Torres family, who also have numerous other restaurants (including Taco Loco and Frescos in Tifton, Ga.), Lumbre features traditional Mexican decor and wall art, including several paintings paying tribute to the beloved trailblazing Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
The menu selection is just as dazzling as the decor, offering a dynamic menu based off traditional Mexican flavors with the objective of publicizing the vast and varied cultures of Mexico.
Inspired by both Mexican Street food and fine dining classics, head chef Alberto Palacios, gives each dish his own distinct, creative flair, making even the most simple of meal selections a completely unique and exciting experience.
MUST TRY ITEMS
The strawberry and original margaritas are wonderfully prepared with a perfect balance of flavor. Just the right amount of tequila is added to pack a punch. The traditional margarita, served in blue-rimmed, martini-style glass wear, makes a great compliment to the heavier dinner selections. The sweet strawberry margarita (a quintessential summertime beverage, garnished with real fresh strawberries) is a perfect addition to lighter lunch fare.
Handmade by the restaurant’s resident bartender (and the owners’ grandson), Joshua Torres, Lumbre’s margaritas rival anything you’ll find on a trip south of the border.
If you prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, Lumbre has excellent sweet tea that even the most discerning sweet tea connoisseur would surely give the seal of approval.
Unlimited chips and salsa are served free with each meal, and while this may be expected at most Mexican dining establishments, Lumbre’s chips and salsa are anything but standard. The tomatoes and various spices all blend together cohesively in the salsa to create a bold, smoky flavor, and the crispy, unsalted chips are served fresh and are thick enough for dipping into additional sauces you may choose to add to any meal. (Lumbre is also known for having superb guacamole and queso.)
Service is an important element of any dining experience, and Lumbre’s servers consistently give signature southern hospitality served up with a smile…our server Brianna was extremely knowledgable about the specials and the various menu items.
The Conchinita Pibil Tacos feature lean shredded pork, flavored with a hint of lime, topped lightly with lettuce and onion, atop corn soft shell taco. If you are looking for a fancier and more complex upgrade from your go-to “Taco Tuesday” favorite, this item is definitely a must.
Highlighting a savory mix of cheeses, grilled chicken, perfectly blended with sautéed onions, wrapped in a thin layer of soft shell and a side of fresh spring mix lettuce, Tinga’s Quesadilla: is the ultimate Mexican comfort food (add some sour cream on the side for additional flavor).
One of our favorite menus items and best described as “Art you can eat,” Carnitas Huarache features a stunningly curated concoction of pulled pork, melted cheese, colorful, edible flowers, cherry tomatoes, and spring mix lettuce, all layered atop a scrumptious handmade dough.
Omelettes Birria in excellent choice for a brunch or light lunch option. This artful take on an omelet features pulled pork, melted cheeses, edible flowers, beans, and an array of beautifully blended and unexpected ingredients.
Torta Ahogada is a lunch favorite of the owner. This substantial and filling sandwich features flavorful pulled pork and melted cheese, all nestled in birote bread, featuring thick, and crunchy crust with a soft interior. Tomato soup on the side makes a delicious accompaniment and “dipping sauce” for this Mexican classic.
Pan De Elote is take on the traditional Mexican “Tre Leche” cake. It is a moist cake from Jalisco made with sweet corn kernels and condensed milk. Popcorn is added as an unexpected topping and gives the soft, subtly sweet cake a nice crispy contrast. Thick sauce with a taste featuring the essence of caramel is drizzled along the top. The base of the cake for both a visually pleasing and delicious addition to this sweet treat.
Flan is arguably, one of the most popular and widely recognized Mexican desserts. Flan is an egg custard dessert with ancient history, dating back to Latin America in the 1500s. Drenched in melted caramel and topped with fruit in an alcohol marinade, this light and fluffy, yet extremely satisfying, dessert is perfect as a sweet happy hour snack or a finisher to any scrumptious Lumbre chef-prepared meal.
The prices are extremely affordable, making fine dining accessible to everyone.
Follow Lumbre at Facebook.com/LumbreCocinaMexicana or on Instagram, @lumbre_rest
Victoria Henley is host of Backstage Pass on FCB/ IHeart Radio and a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.”