July 23, 2008

Distrito, by guest blogger April Annie

When you get an Outlook invitation (really, who sends those for anything except conference calls and meetings?) from your trendiest friend to the opening night at Philly's most anticipated new restaurant, then you receive a Daily Candy email hyping the very same restaurant, you worry. You think crowds. Tragic hipness. General annoyance. I braced myself and convinced an equally cynical friend to join me and act as douchebag deterrent.

What we discovered was ample parking out front and way fewer people inside than either of us could ever have imagined. (The theory was that everyone had my initial reaction and decided to skip opening night.)

Let's just get some things out of the way:
- Yes, I saw the hidden door adorned with Mexican soda that leads to the secret karaoke room (although I haven't entered the sacred chamber—yet).
- Yes, I noticed that the decor was designed to bring the outdoors in (VW car used as a table, swings, lawn chairs).
- And yes, I found it hard to ignore the Mexican luchadores (wrestler) masks used as wall decorations.

As for the food, well, I'm vegetarian, so I relied on my counterpart for descriptions of the meat-containing dishes. I heard that the Kobe beef tacos were good and that the queso fundido with duck was savory and delicious.

My overall impressions were that the menu offered some interesting interpretations of Mexico City fare: mushroom quesadillas, seared tuna tacos, tuna ceviche, and something yummy with truffles. (Truffles!)

The beer selection is decent and includes michilada—in essence, beer with hot sauce. The margaritas were standard, although they were effective in giving me a pretty gnarly headache the following day.

Stuffed, my companion and I headed downstairs for one last totally unnecessary drink. Halfway through our cocktails, a fire alarm rang out and everyone was forced to hit the mean streets of West Philly. The fire department showed up. People wondered out loud what was going on. The star chef, on his way out for the night, humbly apologized for the inconvenience. And we took it upon ourselves to photo document the scene like German tourists on holiday in Old City before heading off for an even more "unnecessarier" drink at Jose Pistolas.

My main points of interest:
The scene:

- Although appearing comfortable, the plastic lawn-type chairs almost broke my ass.
- If you want to match your outfit to the dinner napkins, they're lavender.

Food & bev:
- Small plates
- A lot of salty/sweet combinations
- Duck in the queso fundido
- Some Red Pig beer I'd never heard of and michilada (aka hot sauce in beer)
- Decent chips and guac

My partner’s main points of interest:
- Fire truck
- Swings
- Tuna ceviche was excellent.
- Just when my stomach thought I couldn't do anything more devastating to it, I ordered a beer with hot sauce and salt.
- Duck!

No comments:

Post a Comment