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el vez review (long)

jess Mar 2, 2004 12:06 PM

went to el vez for an early dinner on sat. evening, and was relatively unimpressed by the food. the atomisphere was colorful and interesting, the service (including the host staff) was excellent. the food however, was overpriced and inconsistent. In general the food was over salted and had the lack of balance and finesse that i attribute to doing too much volume. i love mexican cuisine (both authentic and americanized styles) and i must say there are much better options around town. the fresh tortilla chips, salsas and guacomole are all excellent (although $12 for guacamole seems a little excessive) the rest of the meal was mediocre. manchego cheese dip was unispired and just tasted like blan melted cheese. the shrimp quesadila was inedibly salty. the house salad with adobo chicken was large (thanks to romaine lettuce) but the olive and cumin flavors were over the top and unbalanced. the accompanying chicken by contrast was a bit blan. the entree carne asada, was also weak (and overpriced at $24). blan grilled beef fanned out over a cilantro and chayote salad. the salad was fresh and tart and a odd match for the blan charred beef. it did come with a nice side dish of rice with cheese and corn. anyway, all told with 3 drinks (average margarita, average sangria, above average frozen blood orange margarita) $90 (not including gratuity). not worth it, not a great place for dinner. go for chips and drinks...

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  1. b
    Beulah RE: jess Mar 2, 2004 03:27 PM

    We ate there a couple of weeks ago -- during restaurant week -- and enjoyed it very much. Don't remember what we ate but we liked it. We're going back for the Book and the Cook.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Beulah
      speaking of mexican RE: Beulah Mar 2, 2004 03:42 PM

      I'd love to find a good affordable byob mexican restaurant in downtown philly or south philly. there doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground between el vez (up scale), las cazauleas (more regional mexican) and the casual taquerias along washington ave. i'd love a great (even mericanized) mexican restaurant heavy on the cheese and sour cream where I can bring my corono in center city yet not feel like I am in a sandwich shop.

      1. re: speaking of mexican
        Newgirlintown RE: speaking of mexican Mar 2, 2004 03:53 PM

        Lolita 13th Sansom/ Chestnut

        1. re: speaking of mexican
          Ravenous RE: speaking of mexican Mar 6, 2004 09:06 AM

          El Azteca on Chestnut between 7th & 8th. (Note this one is BYOB but the original one on Grant Ave has a bar. don't know aboutt he NJ one.) The owners are a couple and he is straight from Mexico. Never had a bad meal at either though I prefer the NE one myself.

          1. re: Ravenous
            discndav RE: Ravenous Nov 23, 2007 10:38 AM

            I've been El Azteca more 10 times for lunch but today 11/23/07 was terrible.
            Has this placed changed hands? My rice was bland and luke warm, the tortilla
            was drapped over the meat instead of wrapped around it and was not hot either
            and service was slow considering is wasn't busy on Black Friday. I'll give it one more chance since was used to be be very good.

      2. h
        hassan RE: jess Nov 24, 2007 03:56 PM

        Lolitas is right across the street. Way better food for a decent price. Don't forget to bring your own tequila, it'a a byot

        1. s
          starbuck212 RE: jess Nov 28, 2007 11:38 AM

          Agree that the guac & chips are the best part of El Vez. And the drinks! But I do have to say that I was a little grossed out when my hub & I went there a few months ago & saw STACKS of guac bows with guac in them all piled up on a cart near the back of the restaurant (but still in the dining area). It looked like ready-made bowls of guac that they could grab & serve in an instant or maybe grab & doctor-up with whatever ingredients would go into many varieties of guac that you may have selected off the menu. That sort of turned me off. I don't want to think of my base guac pre-made & sitting in a cart in the restaurant where people could walk on by & sneeze on it.

          1. s
            starbuck212 RE: jess Nov 28, 2007 11:40 AM

            Unrelated to El Vez, but still related to Mexican restaurants -- can anyone tell me the name of a Mexican restaurant in Philly that has paintings of skeletons on the walls in the entry area & where you can order an entire canister of Margaritas for your table (which they set down at your table & that has a pour spout)? I was there a few years ago & really loved it (atlhough maybe I was under the influence of too many margaritas at the time & maybe that's why I also can't remember the name or where exactly it was located!)

            1 Reply
            1. re: starbuck212
              Buckethead RE: starbuck212 Nov 28, 2007 11:43 AM

              That would be Tequila's, it's on Locust around 16th I think.

            2. a
              Alissavlad RE: jess Nov 28, 2007 01:12 PM

              Skip El Vez!!!! Have you tried Cantina Los Caballitos?? (1651 E. Passyunk in South Phila) It is the same owners as Royal Tavern. Very good!

              The last time I went to El Vez (and I live down the street), I ordered the tacos as an entre thinking it would be entree size since it was the same price as the entrees....the server failed to tell me they were actually three small silver dollars with two bites of filling!!! I had to eat off everyone else's plates! It was awful!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Alissavlad
                saturninus RE: Alissavlad Nov 29, 2007 08:22 AM

                I love Cantina, but just like El Vez, it's not very authentic. I love Plaza Gibraldi and Las Cazuelas for more authentic, but really enjoy Cantina for fake mexican and margaritas!

                1. re: saturninus
                  Alissavlad RE: saturninus Nov 30, 2007 11:38 AM

                  It's not fake Mexican, it's Americanized Mexican, just like El Vez and Lolita. That's why I recommended it. Laz Cazuelas is great but don't go there when it's busy or you'll never be seated, your food will be ice cold when it eventually comes out, and they'll make you drink from styrofoam cups because they've run out of glassware!!! I've been there many times though and only had a bad experience like that once.

              2. b
                baekster RE: jess Nov 30, 2007 07:38 AM

                I agree with everything you said. That was basically my experience with el vez. if you want colorful interesting place, then go there. if you want good food, go to lolita's across the street.

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