951 Wolf Street (10th and Wolf)
Philadelphia PA 19148
9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
On the left, just past the door, are large plastic bins of chiles including one labeled chipoltes. Lift the lid and take a hearty whiff. Bliss, and a hint of what's to come from the few tables at the rear of Los Gallos, behind the grocery shelves.
Chef-proprietor Luz Jimenez hails from the state of Puebla, famous for its complex take on Mexican cuisine. Luis graduated from culinary school there before winding up in Philadelphia. His craft travels well.
My first visit I tried an assortment of tacos - both al pastor and chorizo. That's them above, garnished with a charred jalapeno, avocado, radishes and lime. A great introduction to Los Gallos.
Next to the tacos, Luis's take on steak enchiladas. The tortillas are not filled, simply covered with green sauce and fresh cheese. The fillings are served separately, in this case steak, along with refried beans.
I'm not a fan of tripe, which is a pity I guess. The bowl of pancitas (tripe stew, also called menudo) contains more tripe than I hope to consume in a life time. The stock is spicy. Traditionally pancitas is served on weekends - either a hangover cure or a spicy alternative to Viagra. Los Gallos serves it week long.
Below that, a quesadilla filled with huitacoche, or corn fungus. That I'm a fan of. Really good.
Though it is not on the menu yet, Luis is serving cemitas - similar to a torta or sandwich, but a specialty of Puebla. The roll is soft and filled with refried beans, avocado tomato, onion, fresh cheese and papalo, an herb that looks like basil but has the kick of cilantro. There is a choice of meats - I went with a Mexican ham.
Plenty to drink. In the big jugs are a cinamony rice milk drink on the right and a hibiscus based drink on the right. Both are ladled over ice. There's a full assortment of Mexican sodas and fruit drinks too.
So many really good Mexican restaurants have opened in Philadelphia over the past few years. Just about every one I've tried has been great. For now, at least, I'm giving the edge to Los Gallos. I'm betting that Chef Jimenez has a lot more cooking to show us.
Updated August 2012 - Added pics of huevos rancheros, chicken chilaquiles and chiles rellenos. All are muy especiale.