Hit Los Catrines - Tequila's on Friday evening and Chloe on Saturday evening.
I had asked chowhounders a few months ago what would be a spot in the Phila area that would compare to Maya, one of our favorite NYC restaurants. We wanted authentic, inspired Mexican food. Someone suggested Los Catrines.
-They don't take reservations for parties of fewer than 10 people, so you don't have to decide in advance that you want to eat here. We arrived Friday at around 8:00 PM and did not have a problem getting a table.
-The restaurant's setting is gorgeous. Beautiful bar, airy, spacious and warm.
-Extensive menu with many different choices. Vegetarians that eat fish will find many choices too.
-My langostino special was absolutely delicious. Huge prawns, very nicely marinated in their tequila sauce (with garlic) and grilled. Full of flavor.
-They don't skimp on the tequila.
-Service was pleasant.
-We had the ceviche appetizer, the langostino special, a steak dish, the Kahlua cheesecake and the caramel [cajeta] crepes. While all of them were good, only the langostinos stood out (and they better stand out at $29). The sauce in the steak was a bit heavy and the cheesecake did not seem to have much of a Kahlua flavor. The ceviche was good, fresh, and had a nice kick to it, but was very straightforward.
-Side dishes were boring and devoid of flavor.
-My glass of sangria was average at best. It lacked fruit juice.
-Expensive for what it provides. Our bill before tip was $100. Would be great as a casual, fun restaurant when you are not looking for a stimulating meal, but not at that price. Despite what may be perceived as a 'negative' review, we will probably revisit and try their fish entrees.
We almost did not go to Chloe due to some awful reviews here lately (one that described a greasy cornmeal crusted flavorless fish sticks out in my mind and did keep me away for a while). I am happy to report that we had an outstanding meal.
For appetizers, we ordered the gorgonzola-figs pizza ($11) with a very nice crispy crust - and the Chloe salad ($6) - crunchy greens, and a crispy baked goat cheese in the center). Both dishes were simple, but the combination of textures (crisp and gooey & sweet and salty) worked for us.
For entrees we had the rare tuna ($18.50) in a ginger broth and the Chilean sea bass ($19.50) with wild mushrooms. We loved both dishes. Some may have found the ginger broth too runny (i.e., its not a sauce, its a broth), but I thought it made this dish feel lighter. It gave the tuna a very nice flavor. The bass was wonderful too it had a subtle glaze and the mushrooms made the dish very savory.
For desserts, we had the pumpkin-pecan pie and the flourless chocolate cake. The pie was fine, but it lacked zest. The flourless chocolate cake was good, but not better than the countless similar cakes in the city.
Overall, Chloe delivered a delicious meal and a great value.