DINING OUT: DISTRITO…Modern Mexican from an Iron Chef

by Walter Bender

Jose Garces, Executive Chef and Owner of DISTRITO, located at 3945 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia PA.

As you all know, there are many fine eateries in our area, especially in the greater Philadelphia area. We have the added fortune to have one of the Iron Chefs from Food Network in our city, Chef Jose Garces. If you’ve seen Iron Chef America, you have seen Chef Garces’ take on classic dishes with a Latin flair. DISTRITO is one of his restaurants, devoted to classic Mexican dishes with the distinctive Garces touch.

I went to lunch at DISTRITO…for $15.00 you get an appetizer and main course, with soda or iced tea. I enjoyed a delicious Nachos Ignacio for starters, with a nice blend of black beans, tomato, cheese and jalapeno. The dish was very filling, and my dining companions each had a sample. Others had the house specialty Tortilla soup, and a beautiful Camarones Ceviche (a beautiful shrimp appetizer.) For the main course we were treated to a selection of Huaraches, which are simple flatbreads with different topping. Mine featured mushrooms, while others had fish, short rib, or cactus(!) For those who wish something else, there are other items featuring duck, chicken, and pulled pork. There are sides of refried beans or rice and black beans if you wish. None of us had room for dessert, but we saw other diners enjoying the flan, fruit ceviche or sorbet.

A peek at the dinner menu finds all of the luncheon items, plus an expansive list of other options. For those adventurous groups, I suggest the Chef’s Tastings…for a flat fee per person you receive a selection of the Chef’s choices, guaranteed to thrill. It’s an expensive evening, but well worth it!

The décor is festive…brightly colored tables, chairs and decorations are everywhere. There are bars upstairs and downstairs, each featuring delicious house specialties. And, for those who like a special view, you can sit in the taxi and enjoy your dinner, or enjoy the view of the wall of Lucha Libre masks as you go upstairs. The staff is friendly and helpful, explaining any of the dishes that you may have questions about.

I have made it a “quest” to visit each of Chef Garces’ restaurants in Philadelphia, and I have enjoyed each one. For a fun afternoon or evening, head down to Chestnut Street and find this wonderful restaurant. You can enjoy your dinner in plenty of time to head back to the Philly theatre district to finish your evening.

3945 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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