On March 23, 2012, longtime University City Mexican spot Zocalo was the subject of Gordon Ramsay’s profane intervention on Kitchen Nightmares. “It’s necessary sometimes for someone to come and teach you how to run a business,” Zocalo co-owner Mary Russell told Philly.com a few days after the episode aired. Less than a year later, the restaurant has closed. Read more »
Starting today, July 12th and lasting through Thursday, July 26th the seventh annual University City Dining Days bring specially priced menus to over 30 West Philadelphia eateries. Priced at either $15, $25, or $30, each meal is a prix fixe three course deal.
For the 7th year in a row University City area restaurants are gearing up for University City Dining Days two-weeks full of dining deals from July 12th to 26th. The event is meant to bring traffic to the area during its slow months. This year a record 34 restaurants are participating in the prix-fixe specials which offer three courses for $15, $25, or $30.
Tonight on the season finale of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Gordo looks to turn around Zocalo in West Philadelphia.
To tell the truth, we’re as excited to see Honest Tom getting face time as we are to see what Ramsay can do to save a Mexican restaurant that is serving some seriously non-Mexican cheese.
Gordon Ramsay and his Kitchen Nightmares TV show is coming to town next week. He’ll be filming at East Passyunk’s Chiarella’s from November 8th to 11th and at West Philadelphia’s Zocalo from the 12th to the 15th.
What strikes us about these two choices are that they actually seem salvageable, unlike potato based restaurants by first-time restaurateurs. Chiarella’s has been on Passyunk since 1970. They have perseverance on their side and that block of Passyunk is as hot for restaurants as any in Philadelphia.
Zocalo has long frustrated us. It is an attractive corner spot on a clean block on Lancaster Avenue and there’s even a nice outdoor patio. If only someone could raise its food above mediocre. Maybe Gordon Ramsey and his spit and vinegar can have a lasting impact.
To see how nice looking Zocalo really is, check out Google’s Restaurant View. Google just rolled out this feature yesterday and Zocalo is the first local restaurant we’ve seen using it.
Amid all of our shiny new Mexican restaurants Trey Popp visits something old, Las Tarascas en Zocalo on Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia.
The food is also a refreshing departure from what has long passed for “authentic” in these parts. Enchiladas come drenched in a dark mole that’s appealingly bittersweet. The pork butt in my cochinita pibil wasn’t quite shredded, but a long simmer in vinegar and orange had rendered it tender and flavorful. Pollo santuario featured a pounded chicken breast topped with chorizo whose smokiness contrasted nicely with the tang of a fresh tomatillo sauce.
We’ve always liked the concept of Zocalo better than any meal we’ve had there. But maybe that will change as the West Philadelphia Mexican restaurant with the great outdoor patio has new owners. Owner and Executive Chef Gregory Russell along with his wife Mary are concentrating on bringing authentic dishes to the restaurant.
They also have a Recession Guide worthy happy hour of 25% off house margaritas, sangrias and selected beers and 25% off all appetizers 4:30-6:30pm nightly.
Some menu highlights after the jump.
707, the restaurant lounge for the Washington Square populace is now open. And as Michael Klein points out, what might be most impressive is it opened just about when it was originally expected! [Table Talk, Philadelphia Inquirer]
Chick’s Cafe & Wine Bar, on 7th between South and Bainbridge is now open. Jim Piano, an alum of Bridget Foy’s brings a menu of small eclectic fare to the table. [Table Talk, Philadelphia Inquirer]
According to a post on PhillyBlog, Zocalo in University City is being purchased by the current executive chef and Greg Russell, owner of Las Tarascas in Sicklerville, NJ. The new restaurant will sport a new menu and name, Las Tarascas in Zocalo when the transaction is complete. [PhillyBlog] via MenuPages Blog
Trattoria Guiseppe, an Italian BYOB has opened on West Chester Pike in Edgemont. [Main Line Restaurant Guide]
Queen Village’s La Vigna, a staple since the early 90s has closed. [Table Talk, Philadelphia Inquirer]
It’s the Philly Food Blog Wrap Up and check out this new and essential tool to the food blogger, food mode.
Tre Scalini has moved and the atmosphere is a huge upgrade but rest assured the pastas are still “enchanting” and the meat and fish “are still excellent in quality and value.” [blogalicious]
Zocalo doesn’t score as well as the more authentic taquerias of South Philadelphia but it still has a time and a place. [Foodaphilia]
Lunch time at Sang Kee Asian Bistro featured some soups and delicious penang baked seafood fried rice. [foodzings]
The Astronomer and the Gastrometer do it up with brunch at Lacroix. 7 dishes and more than 50 photos of what the Astronomer called the “favorite meal that I have ever eaten at a restaurant.” [gasâ€¢tronâ€¢oâ€¢my]
CafÃ© Nhu Y serves a vegetarian Vietnamese hoagie and Mac & Cheese investigates. [Mac & Cheese]