This is for a series of posts related to Iron Chef Jose Garces including:
Amada, Distrito, Rosa Blanca, Bar Volver, Buena Onda, The Blue Anchor, PHS Pop Up Garden, JG Domestic, Tinto , Tinto , Tinto [Brunch], Village Whiskey, and The Olde Bar.
Located between Penn and Drexel, Distrito's a veritable institution and mecca for all that is Mexican fare. And as an Iron Chef, it's a given that Jose Garces has got the culinary skills to develop creative flavors and flair to entice his diners. It's been a decade since he opened his first restaurant and now, he's running an empire. And considering there are more ebbs than flows in the resto game, it's a testament to the fact that he's got a top-notch culinary team behind him - on top of fine business acumen and probably a bit of luck.
And with the Grand Opening of Distrito Taqueria, it's clear he's not afraid of revamping what's already well-established in order to cater to the dynamic tastes of his diners. But never fear. We're still talking about modern twists, but with the taqueria highlighting approachable fare including a bevy of tacos and burritos. It's all festooned in a vibrant and festive atmosphere, with hundreds of lucha libre masks hanging about and a karaoke stage to boot (my inner Korean is calling out!).
Corie Moskow from Gloss PR (uhm - the folks behind the amazing Rittenhouse Row Festival!) was kind enough to invite the GF and I out to celebrate the Grand Opening. So how could I resist the chance to sample delicious pineapple margaritas, surprisingly bright, yet luscious sangrias, and micheladas that will set you right! They were catering to the teetolars as well, with buckets of Jaritos and real deal Mexican sugar-cane Coke's on offer.
And the top-notch culinary team I mentioned before? Case in point - Chef de Cuisine Maria Schmidt. A Jose Garces veteran, over the years she's been helping to run things from Distrito in Philadelphia to Tinto in Palm Springs. Yep - the empire extends beyond just Philly! I'm also pretty sure I saw newly appointed Corporate Executive Chef Justin Bogle on the pass along with Chef Schmidt. So we're talking about another Garces veteran with just a few, you know, Michelin stars under his culinary belt.
Tacos included offerings that ranged from adobo chicken and al pastor to goat barbacoa and tofu chorizo! Served on corn tortillas with cilantro and onion, they're on the menu for $3.50 each and are filling. Distrito Taqueria also has a regular burrito with black beans, rice, and queso fresco as well as a souped up 'Suiza' version smothered in red chile sauce and queso mixto!
Don't forget Jose Garces offers tasting menus in most of his restaurants. At Distrito, you've got the Diego Rivera which offers a guided tour of modern Mexican street food ($45 pp), while the Frido Kahlo provides off-menu creations ($55 pp). And in addition to the offerings from the Taqueria, we were able to get some off-menu tastes that included a gorgeous salmon balanced with bright acidity, crisp, yet unctuous pork belly that was balanced by roasted plum tomatoes, and a creative scallop al pastor dish that accented the innate sweetness of the bivalve nicely.
So if you're looking for a spot to kick back while enjoying some margs, cervezas, and proper Mexico City fare, look no further than Distrito and its newly opened Taqueria. Seems perfect for Happy Hour and the upcoming Eagles season!
FTC Disclaimer: This was a media event to celebrate Distrito Taqueria's Grand Opening. While I did not receive monetary compensation, I did indulge in delicious dishes and drinks, gratis. However, my opinions are mine alone and, therefore, unbiased.