Thursday, September 2, 2010


When it comes bidding farewell to summer, a margarita certainly makes for a nice toast. And so it was I found myself at Distrito, never having been there before, scared away by the primarily pink decor. As it turns out, the pink actually works. The space is cavernous and cool and the pink, plaids, and billboard decor actually provide interesting distractions without being overwhelming. And what's there not to like about a VW bug booth?

After being led upstairs and seated in the perfect wicker booth-for-two (Distrito follows the lead of the Starr restaurants, featuring plenty of booths built for parties of 6 and 8), the margaritas arrived and were perfect. Lime, on the rocks, refreshing. Our server was knowledgeable and cool, the kind of person you're sure you'd be friends with, based on all of the 20 seconds you've spoken with her.

The food? It did the job. Echoing others, I would rate it as similar to El Vez, but better. The guacamole hit the spot, with large chunks of avocado and a spicy kick that even spice-phobic me enjoyed. My choice to order the Hamachi tacos was heartily reinforced by the server, but I confess I was disappointed to find a fishstick-style taco (no mention of deep fried on the menu) with my happy avocado and pickled-onion toppings. Tasty, yes, but firmly in a fishstick genre.

Distrito is also a member of the small plate club, and while our server suggests 2-3 plates, stick with 2, especially if you get things like guacamole. I elected to order the short rib special, whose smoky taste was wonderful, highlighted against small, homemade corn tortillas.My dining companion went with some reliable favorites -- tongue tacos and the jicama salad, both of which did look scrumptious. We split a side order of plantains, which were grilled and caramelized to perfection.

After the second round of margaritas, I was ready for fall. Or at least September. And a return to Distrito, whose menu changes seasonally.

Distrito is located at 3945 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia,

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