- Address: 18 Tank House Lane, Toronto
- Visited: 07/23/2013, Appetizers, 2 people
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Rating: 4.0 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.elcatrin.ca/home
El Catrin is a brand new Mexican restaurant that opened in July occupying The Boiler Room’s old space in the Distillery District. I was lucky enough to be invited to their media launch “fiesta” for complimentary margaritas and hors d’oeuvres.
Disclaimer: All drinks and dishes were provided free of charge by the restaurant. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
Atmosphere: El Catrin features a sprawling front patio, complete with a full bar, private booths and a fire pit. The space was warmly lit, decorated with colourful furniture and plentiful cushions. It would be a great party event venue or for a night of margaritas with friends. The interior of the restaurant is dominated by the two storey wall mural featuring beautiful colours and a strong skull motif, which echoed throughout the entire restaurant’s decor. There are two private dining areas available for larger parties, both fully decorated with the restaurant’s theme and furnished with an extra long dining table.
Food: The first dish I sampled was the “Vuelve a la vida El Catrin”, which was seafood ceviche on top of a fresh shucked oyster. The bite was amazing. I could’ve easily had a dozen of these. With that start the appetizers rolled out. Servers brought around corn salad in shot glasses, cubetas (a bucket of marinated tiger shrimp), baja fish tacos, pork tacos, tuna ceviche and beef short rib quesadilla (not pictured). We ended the night on a sweet note with two desserts, fresh churros and jamoncillo de leche (Mexican fudge) with bacon walnuts.
My favourite dish was the cubetas. The shrimp were plump, flavourful and was the one dish I couldn’t pass on whenever it came around. I found the pork taco was more memorable than the baja fish with stronger flavours. Between the two desserts, the churros were a bit disappointing and I had to shake off a lot of the sugar topping. The mexican fudge was dense and sweet. I liked the contrast of the saltiness in the bacon topping.
This was a great preview of El Catrin’s menu and I look forward to trying out their full menu, especially brunch which has mexican inspired omelette and pancake dishes.