The Other Critics

Rex 1516 Keeps South Street ‘Diverse and Interesting’; Short Rib Tamales at Zocalo Are ‘Terrific’

• At Rex 1516, Craig LaBan notes the “moody Southern bistro’s” “quiet sophistication to the street” and the “taste of hearty-but-genuine Deep South cooking.” The shrimp and grits “delivers,” as do the crawfish pies and sweet potato “whimsies,” but on a return visit when chef Regis Jansen was off, things weren’t as solid. “A lack of finesse” left dishes “feeling heavy, overspiced, or just overcooked.” While the restaurant and its menu received two bells, LaBan says that its presence keeps “this South Street mix diverse and interesting.” [Inquirer]

• Adam Erace checks out West Philly “neighborhood fixture” and recent recipient of a Gordon Ramsay makeover, Zocalo. He says go for the strawberry margarita. “whose fresh-fruit puree came through beautifully,” but avoid the Paloma, which due to a lack of grapefruit soda “sputtered instead of fizzed.” Short rib tamales, “wee” and “scattered with sweet and smoky corn salsa” were “terrific.” The xik il pak, a Mayan dish of coarsely ground pepitas, olive oil, tomato and jalapeno “also rocked.” “Umami-rich” mole poblano, with “bold strokes of ancho, guajillo, pasilla and mulato chilies and a low, lingering heat” fared better than the chicken, whose meat was in need of “more personality.” [Courier-Post]

Rex 1516 Keeps South Street ‘Diverse and Interesting’; Short Rib