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Mar 12, 2011 04:47 AM

Disappointed Dining at Distrito

Granted, it was a cold, rainy Sunday night, and maybe the weather affected the restaurant, but our party of 8's experience (at least 4 dedicated and experienced foodies) was pretty much a mixed bag. The ceviches were wonderful but dinner took a nosedive from there. Really poor service was a factor. Our margaritas sat at the bar for 10 -15 mins before our server finally delivered them - minus one of our group's order and of course a little diluted from melting ice. Three of our dishes were unbeliveably SALTY and this from a salt-lover! Salt, used judiciously, enhances flavor; too much salt and flavors are totally overwhelmed and masked. If there was duck confit in my one dish, I didn't taste it! Even the salsa was salty. Finally, our dinner companion who was stiffed on her drink was also stiffed on her food. She ordered only two small plates. The second one never materialized until after the rest of us had finished our meals and only after reminding our server to bring it. We live in the burbs and relish going into the city for stellar meals - this was not one of them.

Distrito Restaurant
3945 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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  1. I have said it many times on this board before but I will say it again because hopefully someone from GRG is listening--Distrito has the worst management of all of Garces' restaurants.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barryg

      Had a great management experience at Ted's Montana Grill last Thursday.

      The bison burger I ordered medium-rare came medium-well. The server offered me a new one, but I declined as I had an appointment to make. The manager then came over and offered me a complimentary dessert. I declined as I did not want dessert and, as I told her, the burger was still juicy. The server then told me the manager had comped me my glass of wine.

    2. We also found Distrito uneven in all areas, food, service and bar. There was also something just "not quite right" about that way we were greeted upon arrival. I am not sure exactly what was missing or perhaps it was a bit too much attitude of the "your lucky to be here" type. Our service problems were at the bar not with our particular server. Our drink was a special margarita served with no ice, served very slowly with little taste of any kind which perhaps was what made it special! Ugh! That evening I did enjoy all of the food items. I am salt tolerant to a point and that point, that evening was not crossed. At these prices for Mexican one expects all around goodness.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bacchus101

        I'd like to point out that Distrito is the most affordable of the Garces' restaurants. It's convenient to 30th St. station. So.. . got my family there on a rainy, Thurs. night when picking up my daughter coming in from out town. She loved the ceviche and margarita she special ordered. I was happy with my interesting pork taco/pineapple salsa + choice and my son loved the beef tongue taco. My husband was happy to have a cold beer and get out of the rain. Daughter was put off by the decor (who cares? I thought it was fun). Son "detected a element of subtle " snarkdom"? from the server" ( he's more of a Tattoo Mama's, Dirty Frank's, Abbaye kind of guy). I thought the server helpfully steered me away from the duck mole when explaining they don't serve duck breast well done (I know how this made me sound. He was polite as well as helpful). Just hate to see such a worthy restaurant not get a positive comment on this thread.

        1. re: mmgth

          Snarkdom, yes, yes that was it! Love that word! Besides that aforementioned "snarkdom" it is nice to hear you had a good experience. I think I know what they are going for with the decor but I also find it a bit of a miss/mess and off putting. Our menu choices have been very good indeed. Not sure of the "most affordable point". I believe the prices are on the high side for Mexican in this Philly local and give no special privilege or positive comments to Garces other than what would be earned by excellent food and service. Ok forget the decor, who cares!

      2. I'm sorry to see this, as Distrito is one of our favorites - a place we happily and somewhat frequently travel in from the burbs to go. I always find the food to be excellent, and have never had any service issues. I've been with groups, and with just my husband, never a very hip crowd, but never made to feel bad about it. I do agree that the salt level tends to be high (here and at all the Garces restaurants), but I like my food salty, so it doesn't really bother me.