Saturday, December 04, 2010

Tres Jalapenos

Wade's Take:

I don't know how Tres Jalapenos ended up on our list of buzzy places to chow in Philly. But I'm glad it made the list.  This South Philly eatery is just a few blocks from the Italian Market. Its atmosphere is comfortable and down to earth. The inside of Tres Jalapenos has funky details (such as bales of hay and twinkle lights) that make it fun. I can't tell you the last time I ate adjacent to a bale of hay (probably 1997), but I can tell you that it's always a great time when hay is involved.  

A special note needs to be made here about the staff... they are genuinely friendly and welcoming. Not just "we want your return business" friendly, but more like your next door neighbor from your hometown kind of friendly. You can tell these folks love their food and are proud of the establishment, and rightly so.

The chicken soup was the perfect choice for a cold December night. Generous portions of chicken were swimming in a rich stock. Its simplicity made the dish a tasty and ideal starter.

Tuesdays, as it turns out, are known as Taco Tuesdays at Tres Jalapenos. This means unlimited tacos for a minimal price (I think it was $7.50). Tres Jalapenos has traditional Mexican tacos - double corn tortillas, meat, cilantro and onions. I did three rounds of these tasty tacos - one round with steak, one round with pork, and one round Al Pastor (marinated pork with pineapple. Go for the Al Pastor... these were scrumptious.

I left Tres Jalapenos feeling fat and happy.

Three Jalapenos out of Four.

Jess’ Take:

If you’re looking for authentic Mexican, Tres Jalapeños needs to be on your list. Like Wade mentioned, the festive atmosphere sets the tone for some down and dirty (and tasty) food.

We started with an order of guac and although it didn’t arrive with any frills, it was delicious and obviously very fresh, as were the chips, which were still warm and more than lightly dusted with salt.

Although temped by Taco Tuesday, I opted for the Green Enchiladas, on the recommendation of our server. On the menu they are served with chicken, but I substituted shrimp (for an extra $3). They arrived piled high with green sauce, cheese, onions, sour cream and next to a generous portion of rice and beans. All of the ingredients were extremely fresh and flavorful, however, the shrimp did not do the dish justice. Their taste and texture were out of line with the rest of the enchilada, and so I found myself with bites that consisted of just cheese and beans.

After dinner I was reminded of why I have a love/hate relationship with Mexican. The anticipation and taste is amazing, the heartburn and guilt of consuming so many calories, not so much. However, if I’m going to indulge again, I’m going to do it at Tres Jalapeños. This time I’ll stick with the chicken.

3 out of a possible 4 sombreros.


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