Sunday, May 30, 2010

Arena District: Park Street Cantina

Park Street Cantina is the latest addition to the Park Street social scene here in Columbus.

Located in the building formerly inhabited by Spice, Park Street Cantina is a breath of fresh air to the street.  And by breath of fresh air, I mean you don't have to dress up like Sarah Jessica Parker in "Sex and the City" to fit in.

Park Street Cantina opened up several weeks ago, and I went and checked it out last week with a friend who was scouting for a good location for a birthday party.  I felt like I was in Scottsdale when I walked in; Spanish tile roof and stucco-esque walls (I mean, they didn't demo the building and correct me if I am wrong, but Spice was just a slab of concrete, right?). 

We sat at the bar and I noticed something right away: swings, really? There are swings at this bar.  Two person wooden swings strung up by ropes.  I can only imagine those are popular on Park Street's "College Nights..."

Anyway, we were there to try the food and see if it was a good spot for this party, so we ordered some snacks.  The hostess brought over a large basket of house made chips and some salsa.  There were several types of salsa, a garlic, a tomatillo, a basic tomato based salsa, and my personal favorite, the mango salsa.  I am surprised that Park Street Cantina had a decent mango salsa considering mangoes are quite pricey for a bar operation, but it was really tasty, and had some nice green chilis to complement the sweetness of the mangoes.

We ordered a cheese quesidilla, fish taco, and the seven layer dip.

Cheese Quesidilla:

Since this is a new spot, I figured that Park Street Cantina would jazz up the menu a bit.  Well, this quesidilla was nothing to write home about (not like I would anyway, my mother would probably not approve of this food adventure).  This was seriously two flour tortillas stuffed with shredded cheese, pressed together in a panini maker or some other form of compression that caused the cheese to melt.  It was served with a side of salsa and sour cream.  I felt like Taco Bell puts in more effort to its quesidillas.

Fish Taco:

Did I say fish taco? The taco that the waitress billed up to be AMAAZZHHZINNG?  Well whoops, we were given a shrimp taco.  Guess the waitress didn't want us to try the famous fish taco.  The shrimp was seasoned well, with a light spice.  However, it was served with a less-than-sub-par-uncle-ben's rice-is-better tomato rice, and the standard salsa and sour cream.  Next time I'll order a fish taco, but I'll probably be given something cow-ridden instead because the waitress forgot to pay attention to me.

Seven Layer Dip:

What's in a seven layer dip? Refried beans, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, cheese, black olives, tomatoes? Well this one had green onions too.  I'm not a math genius, but clearly that adds to 8.  And although there were supposedly all of these wonderful ingredients in this bowl of supposed deliciosuness, all I could taste was sour cream.  Which wasn't delightful.  Rage.

I forgot to take pictures of this -- but before I showed up to Park Street Cantina, my friends had ordered two pizzas, a shrimp pizza and a barbeque chicken pizza (which, if you have eaten with me before, you know my love of barbeque chicken pizza, especially from Milano's in Dayton).  These items are from the "gringo" section of the menu (no joke, the menu says gringo).  I am not too sure what that says about a place when the honky themed food is more appetizing than the culture the restaurant is supposed to be representing...

CONCLUSION:  If you're hungry before you go out, go eat somewhere else in the Arena District or Short North before going to Park Street Cantina to make yourself feel 5 again and swing in a swing all night.  Or, if you're really craving Mexican food, just hike it to your nearest El Vaquero.

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