Cantina Catrina

I could make this serious quick and merely say that I do not currently recommend Cantina Catrina, the Mexican cafe from Miami that just lately opened its next place, at Florida Mall. I could notify you that there was not 1 component of my knowledge that I discovered good or redeeming, but I sense I have to have to be far more particular.

The restaurant’s Fb site states, “When you initially stage by the doorway you come to be part of the atmosphere.” Inasmuch as the ambiance is predominantly influenced by the skeletal photos associated with the Day of the Lifeless, I need to have been warned.

Cantrina dead

Ahead of I go any even more, permit me deal with the elephant bones in the home. Certainly, I know that a lot of businesses, eating places in particular, carry on to battle with the problems the pandemic induced, including offer chain disruptions and staffing difficulties. So I was not shocked or even chagrined that a number of items were not obtainable on the menu. (Currently being short-staffed was not a problem here, but I’ll arrive back again to that.)

And to be clear, the house owners of Cantina Catrina selected to open up this location in the course of these unparalleled occasions and even invited media and foodstuff bloggers to opening working day foods, presumably hoping for constructive postings in return for totally free food items and drinks. (I did not attend.) The restaurant’s web site even admits that the decor, which incorporates many existence-sizing skeletons – or it’s possible that must be lifeless-dimension – sitting at the bar and dining tables are to inspire Instagram postings.

Catrina occupies a place at the edge of the Florida Mall’s food court, referred to as the Eating Pavilion, with indoor and outdoor seating. In point, it was the prospect of sitting down on the patio that drew me to the restaurant just one recent balmy evening – that and to have some Mexican food stuff, which is one of my favorites.

But when I approached the host stand and requested a desk exterior, the youthful girl there explained to me they were phasing out the patio. Because who desires to sit outside the house on a lovely Florida night? In a pandemic? She proposed I choose a seat at the bar. I took a stool between two of those massive skeletons, figuring I wouldn’t capture no matter what had accomplished them in.

There I sat. And sat. I was ungreeted and unmenued, but it was not because the area was understaffed. In truth, there had been a few people powering the bar (which had no other buyers when I sat down) and two or 3 folks I assumed have been servers just standing all around chatting the bartenders up. Just about every now and then another person would look my way and go back again to chatting. There was a definite “not my desk/not my problem” mindset, which I observed at other situations, way too. To say that they were being undertrained would be to assume that some level of coaching had been attempted.

And allow me just say that at no time through my visit did I see anyone I could explain as a supervisor.

Cantrina tacos

Right after a person of the bartenders ultimately pulled himself away and asked what I required (a menu was first on my list), I was at last in a position to buy. Immediately after currently being advised the first two points I requested were being not offered, I settled on an appetizer of tamal de lechón followed by the gradual-braised beef barbacoa “street” tacos.

The menu is heavy on tacos, and just about every purchase arrives with 5, but they’re fairly smaller. (There is no option to have a blend of tacos or anything at all else – it is all or absolutely nothing.) The tacos highlighted corn tortillas, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, topped with the shredded beef, which was dry, and avocado slices, pickled onions, thinly sliced radish and loads of cilantro.

Cantrina tamal

Even though listed as an antojito, the tamale arrived out lengthy immediately after the tacos. (Would that make it a postojito?) There were two tamales, each small, and neither with considerably of the promised pork. What they did have a great deal of was sodium. Just about every bite filled my mouth with a salty flavor.

Cantrina fork

Napkins are available from popup dispensers on just about every table, and if you’d like a fork, you will find a container of plastic-wrapped disposable forks at your disposal.

I’d like to be equipped to equivocate and counsel the cafe was possessing a poor evening or that it was struggling from the vagaries of Covid Society. It did not seem so to me. So permit me just say I do not now endorse Cantina Catrina.

Cantina Catrina is at the Florida Mall, 8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando (map). It is open up for lunch and supper day-to-day. The phone quantity is 321-352-7282.