Jose Garces’ Distrito Cantina brings his Philly-based Guapos Tacos food truck concept to Revel
One of the most glaring regional casualties of our economic recession endured during the last few years has been Atlantic City’s selection of late-night dining.
While longtime local standouts like A.C. Bar and Grill, Ducktown Tavern and Tony’s Baltimore Grill still continue to serve up plentiful grub well through the wee hours of the morning, the casino industry has scaled back on its late-night offerings.
We’ve taken notice of this personally during several overnights in the resort this past winter.
In a locale that — to borrow the words of another Jersey-born Frank — literally “never sleeps,” it’s a bit of a disheartening phenomenon.
Directly bucking that trend is the Revel-based, Jose Garces-conceived, Distrito Cantina.
One of a trio of his eateries within the resort — others being the authentic, upscale Andulusian tapas bar Amada (225-9900; more on them later in this feature) and classic American tavern concept Village Whiskey (225-9880) — Garces’ Distrito Cantina is actually sort of hybrid, with counter space providing a lively margarita bar and victuals served up from within a customized, stationary food truck modeled after Garces’ highly-successful Philadelphia-based Guapos Tacos vehicle.
The truck itself is wildly colorful, decorated with thousands of vintage soda caps.
Its location, permanently posted up just steps from Ovation Hall, allows concert and event revelers easy access to world-class casual cuisine.
The bar serves up more than 60 varieties of tequila — suddenly the trendiest of all distilled spirits — including a signature “Jefe” (or “Chef”) margarita featuring Don Julio resposado, Combier (the world’s first Triple Sec, conceived by Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Combier and wife Josephine in 1834) and lime.
Foods presented are classic Mexican street fare, elevated via Garces’ Iron Chef skill set — stuff like to-order guacamole with mashed avocado, jalapeno, cotija cheese and house-made tortilla chips; pozole, the traditional Latino family soup of corn hominy, made chic by the addition of little neck clams, chorizo and red chile; carnitas, pulled pork with black beans and pineapple salsa and esquites, a Northern Mexican specialty composed of toasted sweet corn blended with queso fresco and chipotle.
The best part of Distrito Cantina’s concept just might be its late-night accessibility.
Currently open some Thursdays — when significant events are taking place within the resort — Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the eatery operates until at least midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, often staying open till 2am.
Once the summer season rolls forward, they anticipate serving food daily until midnight, later on the weekends.
Since April, Revel has recharged its award-winning The Social venue with several weekly events. Thursday nights, the Comedy Social series has been hosting well-known stand-up comics — from Alonzo Bodden and Nick DiPaolo to Pat Dixon and Christian Finnegan (who appears June 6) — in a dinner room setting.
Since opening just over a year ago, Revel has certainly faced more than its fair share of hardship. One undeniable fact though, the shimmering building with the globe on top has brought a dazzling collection of gastronomic options to the area, including star chef concepts from the likes of Marc Forgione, Jose Garces, Luke Palladino, Alain Allegretti and Robert Wiedmaier.
When Revel first exploded on the Atlantic City scene last spring, one of its very first events was a delightful culinary event, the Taste of Revel. The casino is continuing and expanding its original series of events with this year’s second annual Taste of Revel culinary weekend that will be the finishing touch to a week long, resort-wide epicurean extravaganza from Monday, May 6 through Sunday, May 12.
If you’ve got an inveterate food fanatic on your holiday shopping list, someone who truly appreciates all things gastronomic, this column is for you.
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With all the complexities of opening a brand new destination resort in Atlantic City, the executives at Revel already had a lot on their plate. However, those same executives decided to put some great food on the plates of visitors, by presenting the inaugural Taste of Revel, presented by Food & Wine and created in partnership with Travel + Leisure. This three-day epicurean extravaganza from May 18-20, will feature exclusive experiences developed specifically for the 6.3-million-square-foot beachfront destination.
From a casual lunch-truck approach to modern Mexican to the finest in French-inspired cuisine, Revel will have the entire dining spectrum covered.
Wiedmaier’s room won’t be the only place to grab a steak at Revel. Chef Marc Forgione, one of Revel’s two TV Food Network “Iron Chefs” (Philly-based Jose Garces is the other) will be opening American Cut, which he described as his spin on a “classic steakhouse.”
As most of America is now already undoubtedly aware, NYC-based Chef Geoffrey Zakarian — culinary lifestyle consultant of Borgata’s sister property The Water Club — was recently named the winner of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs competition. Beating out a field of cheftestants that included a Murderer’s Row of prestigious personas like Michael Chiarello, Marcus Samuelsson, Zakarian’s Chopped co-host Alex Guarnaschelli and eventually, Elizabeth Faulkner, Zakarian becomes the fourth Iron Chef installed by virtue of an arduous, trial-by-fire system of judgment. (Previous winners were Michael Symon, Marc...
Revel continues to back up its claim that the property will be a mega-casino complex with the announcement that Food Network Iron Chef Jose Garces, acclaimed chef and owner of eight restaurants in Philadelphia, and four more in Chicago and Scottsdale, Ariz. is set to open the doors to three highly anticipated restaurants at Revel.
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