Thursday, July 18, 2013

#13: Tequilas

I have been looking forward to trying Tequilas ever since I got my huge packet of gift cards. I picked up the envelope at the Center City District building and couldn't even wait until I got home to start opening it up and looking at the restaurants while driving (I do not recommend doing this). Anyways, Brendan and I made a 6pm reservation at Tequilas on a Wednesday night. We were thinking we might get to use some Sips deals while dining, but no go. (For all of my out of town blog readers, Sips is basically a happy hour special that a number of Philadelphia restaurants and bars participate in on Wednesdays from 5-7pm in the summer.) The bar was in a completely different room than the dining area and it was PACKED for Sips. It looked fun at first, but then a line formed to just step into the bar room, and that did not look fun. So, we sat in the dining area and got no deals, which was pretty apparent by our bill at the end of the night.

Tequila's is an authentic yet modern Mexican restaurant located on the corner of 16th and Locust. The place is really cool inside, decorated with some impressive wall paintings. A lot of skeleton creatures...

I liked the feel of the place. The dark lighting, plants and wall decor really transports you to feel like you are in Mexico. That being said, I am going to have to attribute my awful pictures to the dark lighting. And to the fact that it was packed from wall to wall (even in the dining area) so using my flash was very obvious, and we tried to avoid it at all costs. Brendan tried holding the tiny candle on the table to the food while taking pictures, but it didn't exactly do the trick.

I am not sure if it was because it was Sips or what, but the place was very, very crowded. We felt a bit rushed by our waiter, which I don't really want deal with ever, especially at 6pm on a Wednesday. No, I do not want to order my meal at the same time that I order my drink. No thanks. I digress.

I ordered a basic margarita. $10- no big deal. I kind of expected a decent size, or the absolute best margarita I've ever had, if I'm paying $10 for it, but it wasn't. Brendan ordered a Mexican beer, which I actually really liked. It was comparable to a Corona I would say.

To start,we ordered Empanadas Del Dia. "Handmade corn tortillas, filled with the freshest ingredients selected each day by our chef." Well, the chef picked beef . I would've preferred something more exciting but they were still really tasty and a perfect appetizer.

Now on to the entree round. Brendan ordered the Molcajetes. It was beef tenderloin served in a lava rock bowl, covered with a spicy salsa made from tomato, garlic and chile de arbol and accompanied by corn tortillas to make your own tacos. It also came with a side of guacamole, beans and rice.Brendan is easy to please and loved it. I thought that the beef was a bit chewy and rubbery, but it was fine. The corn tortillas were light, fluffy, and tasty. The presentation was pretty amazing, too. I recently got my Dad a molcajete for Father's Day to make guacamole and basically I have been using it more than he is. So overall, I am a fan of the molcajete and I think it really makes the presentation.

I was deciding between two dishes, the Chiles Rellenos and the Enchiladas Playa. When this becomes an issue for me, I usually ask the waiter and see what he or she recommends. Our waiter, clearly did not have time for my questions and quickly said the Enchiladas. So that is what I got. They were stuffed with crabmeat and shrimp, served with creamy poblano and chipotle peppers sauces. This dish was a lot for me on a Wednesday night. I could only finish one enchilada. However, I was impressed with how fresh the seafood was.

Tequilas was an overall good spot. The portions weren't huge and the atmosphere was fun and exciting. The waiters carried the drinks around on the top of their heads and on their fingertips which was entertaining to see. I will say that it was pricey and I was expecting more. I've heard great things about Tequilas and have been really excited to try, but it didn't exactly meet my expectations. I think that the service and the food/drinks not being up to par probably had a lot to do with the amount of people in the bar taking advantage of the specials. Anyways glad to go and glad to start hitting the 30s to go in my gift cards!

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