While our own experiences have admittedly been somewhat mixed as well — some things have been excellent, some items have been just ok, service lacking at times — we have to believe in the potential of the place, and therefore are not willing to give up on it before it’s even two months old.
Moreover, Philadelphia could use a few more head chefs who also happen to be hot and female. (Just sayin'.) Especially when they’re described as a “petite, tattooed firecracker” in the restaurant’s promotional material. Because that’s awesome.
For the food, Chef Zavala – a 30 year old, petite, tattooed firecracker who has worked in Connecticut, California, North Carolina, St. Croix and Manhattan – was inspired by her over-the-border visit with [Owner Owen] Kamihira to Texas and Mexico, as well as her own Mexican heritage.Untamed indeed.
A self-described “culinary gypsy,” she applies her experience traveling with Ozzfest as a rock ‘n’ roll chef and channels that same hard-living, untamed spirit which also characterizes border life and fare.
Hopefully, Zavala irons out any kinks in the kitchen and El Camino starts kicking ass.
Meanwhile, a comment about the design of the space: it feels a bit conflicted. El Camino professes a desire for an authentic border bar feel, however, that’s hard to achieve with an open kitchen and a wealth of windows onto the street, which immediately limit any ‘from-dusk-til-dawn’ type of vibe. Which, to us, would be a cooler feel for an “authentic” border bar boasting a menu of lots of whiskey, tequila and bourbon. You know, updated a little and without the vampires.
El Camino Real [ Official Site ]