Intimate Mexican Food = 3 Day Fried Chicken

Xochitl

408 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia PA 19147

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Xochitl is a Mexican restaurant located in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’s situated on a super pretty brick street, and this picturesque street is an ideal location for this intimate spot. The restaurant has a fabulous bar, with a daily happy hour (including $6 margaritas) at the bar. There is a sunken dining room with lots of wooden tables and warm colors. The service is great, and the staff is very friendly. I’ve also heard great things about the Molcajete Dinner for 2, which is available Sunday-Thursday, and includes make your own tacos of various proteins.
Guacamole with house made tortilla chips
Guacamole with house made tortilla chips

We started the meal with some customized Guacamole ($9). Each table in the dining room is set with a guacamole form and pencil in order to complete a checklist of ingredients and mix-ins. We chose to have ours made with cilantro. chipotle, cotija cheese, plum tomato, and roasted garlic. The guacamole comes to the table in a heaping bowl with a sprinkling of cotija cheese resembling snow on top. The guacamole has a nice briny taste, along with a pop of citrus, offsets the saltiness. It’s very creamy, but still has the house made chunky consistency. There’s an aftertaste of spicy heat without too much of a bite. Instead there’s a building heat from the more mild chipotle pepper, and freshness from the cilantro. The fresh plum tomato gives a nice chewy change from the creaminess of the avocado on alternating bites, and the house made tortilla chips gave a great crunch. Great way to start off the meal!

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Ahi Tuna Ceviche
My friend ordered the Ahi Tuna Ceviche ($12) as her main meal. The ahi tuna itself was super fresh, sliced very thin, and came dressed in a citrus and guajillo chili marinade. The tuna is garnished with some micro cilantro and cucumber. The dish had a subtle heat from the guajillo chilies and a punch of flavor from the marinade, which was refreshing and helped cut through the richness of the avocado and cheese. The dish only came with three yucca chips, but there were plenty of leftover chips from the guacamole to scoop up the rest of the tuna.
Pollo Frito
Pollo Frito
I opted for a far less healthy, but super delicious entree choice – the Pollo Frito ($23). I ordered the half a chicken portion that was cut into four individual pieces with a sweet and spicy chili sauce drizzle. The three day preparation, including brining, steaming and frying, gave the chicken a nice crispy skin, but kept the meat especially moist. The chili drizzle did not detract from the crispness of the skin, and actually highlighted the juiciness of the meat. The dish is usually accompanied with corn bread and chipotle creamed spinach. The spinach is somewhat liquidy from the cream without being watery. In addition, the spinach has a pleasant heat and is a great rendition of a classic dish. This time I decided to substitute esquites, or Mexican street corn, in place of the spinach. The esquites complemented the cornbread nicely, and the corn was not overcooked. It maintained a small bit of crunch, and an overall richness from the cream, and a subtle background like flavor. of lime. There was no overt heat in the corn, which was a bit of a relief from the spiciness of the meal. The corn had an amazingly addictive quality to it though, and made me come back more and more. The dusting of cotija on top was a nice garnish. The cornbread had chunks of fresh corn throughout, and generous pad of melted butter. It came out as an individual loaf–freshly baked and hot from the oven.
Xochitl has a great vibe–perfect for an intimate dinner or a group night out. Next time I’m there, maybe I’ll check out the dinner for two, and I’m definitely I’m going to try the Chocolate Tres Leches Cake–as long as I have enough room left in my stomach!
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