3 Countries offers triple the flavor for a third of the price

September 27, 2013 


Ropa Vieja (shredded beef) with white rice, black beans and fried ripe plantains at 3 Countries Restaurant. Served with Cuban coffee (espresso) and cotadito.

JASON VORHEES — jvorhees@macon.com Buy Photo

Two words: Saturday brunch. Three Countries, a new Mexican/American/Cuban restaurant near downtown Macon, will be popping once “Those Who Brunch” discover it. It’s cheap, it’s delicious and it’s a little more exotic than your usual brunch spot.

For breakfast (Monday-Saturday) you can get a heap of cheesy scrambled eggs, a toasted slab of buttery Cuban bread, and two meats (sausage patty, sliced turkey, sliced ham and/or curly, crunchy bacon) for $4.99 and get a dark, sweet Cuban coffee with it for free! I don’t know of any better deal in town.

Of course, they have lunch as well: two different specials each day, allowing for fresh food made with great care. Mondays, choose from fajitas or bistec encebollado, a lime and garlic marinated sirloin steak served with onions, rice, black beans and yuca. Tuesdays offer enchiladas or roasted pork, congri rice (rice and beans cooked together), fried plantains and yuca. Wednesdays, you can get tacos dorados (fried flautas) or Cuban style barbecue chicken served with, rice, refried beans and plantains. Thursdays, there’s chicken sopes or ropa vieja, and Fridays you can have arroz amarillo or deep fried pork with black beans.

You can get salads, tacos, burros or tortas any day you want. The salads include a taco salad for the ridiculously cheap price of $5.75 and a grilled chicken version that’s even cheaper. Tacos are three for $7.50 and come in chicken, beef, pork and chorizo.

The burros are what we normally call a burrito, but the tortas are what steal the show. For $7.50, you can get a sandwich made on thin Cuban bread with chorizo, a spicy sausage; milanesa, or chicken fried steak; or pan con bistec, the steak sandwich. If you’re not feeling adventurous, there’s always the more pedestrian sliced chicken, ham or turkey.

When you’re ready for a classic adventure, try the Cubano, the Cuban version of a hot ham and cheese. Thin slices of juicy roast pork, salty ham, sour dill pickles, tangy mustard and sharp Swiss cheese are griddled together to form a panini that addresses all of your taste buds. Advanced students can get a medianoche, which is essentially a Cuban on more receptive bread.

All of these are great to-go items, as they just get better as the bread and fillings get to know each other.

For dinner, they have a great take out deal, much like Good To Go. For $35, you get an entree for five plus rice, refried beans, salsa Roma and salsa verde. We ordered our tacos dorados and two hours later we had a large pan of taquitos (same thing) covered in shaved lettuce, sour cream and queso fresco, a fresh Mexican white cheese that has not been aged.

All of this, plus the owner/cashier is one of the nicest restaurateurs I’ve ever met. Three Countries has the recipe for success. I only hope I can still get mine once it catches on.

3 Countries Restaurant

Address: 195 Spring St., Macon

Phone: 478-742-9006

Website: www.3countriesrestaurant.com

Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Payment: Cash, credit

Smoking: No

Alcohol: No

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: Low

Health Rating: 100

Price range: $5.75-$8.50

Rating: 3 stars

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