121 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
here) we decided to try out another Starr restaurant, El Vez. El Vez serves upscale Mexican-American food with some LA-flair. A short drive from the Philadelphia Art Museum where we spent our afternoon, we arrived at El Vez for our reservation at 4:30. Some of you might be surprised with our early reservation for dinner, but due to the restaurant's popularity, this was the only time slot we got for same day reservations, especially for a Saturday. But to our surprise, we ended up eating for 1.5 hours because we loved the food so much.
Located in the restaurant district of Center City, El Vez sticks out with its vibrant colors inside and out and funky music. Even at 4:30, the restaurant was quite popular with people eating late lunches and enjoying happy hours with pitchers of white sangria and stone bowls of guacamole. In the middle of the restaurant was a colorful bar with a retro bicycles as center pieces rotating around top-shelf alcohol. Similar to Continental, customers have the choice to sit at their hip bar, retro-decorated tables or cozy booths. At the back of the restaurant was a photobooth that must be in high use since the walls of the restaurants were decorated with photos of customers and the servers.
|Bazooka Limon - Guacamole is/should be a mandatory order at El Vez|
|Queso Fundio de Hongos - Corn Smut on top!|
|Sea Bass Tacos with Sweet Potato Puree|
|Crab Tacos - No shortage of crab (you get 3 of these)|
|Creamy Poblano Corn Rice|
We were DEFINITELY full at this point, but had actually finished everything on our plates (surprising?) thus far. The table next to us ordered attractive desserts though, and we knew that we just had to try some. Their dessert menu consisted of several traditional Mexican desserts like flan and Mexican chocolate cake. Others were less conventional, such as the Mexican banana split with jamaica strawberry and the Mexican chocolate ice cream on plantains and chipotle soaked cherries.
|Tres Leches Cake|
Overall, El Vez was another Starr winner. It's at a great location in the middle of South 13th street (across the street from capogiro gelato, if you want a different type of dessert!). The ambiance is young, but not pretentious and the presentation was simple. We started our dinner at 4:30 and left the restaurant after 6 and never felt rushed at all. We enjoyed our food and our drinks at our own pace. The service was friendly, attentive and fast. The modern take on Mexican food was delicious. Order some guacamole, get some nice drinks, and try the Huitlacoche!