The opening of Kahlo’s Cantina: George Sharaway was excited to receive the long-awaited email from the City of Edmonds — one that granted “occupancy” to the establishment. The message, received at 4:45 p.m. last Wednesday, caused George and his staff to shift into high gear. They opened Thursday. Sunny weather encouraged patrons to enjoy the patio spaces. Sharaway estimated they served about 400 patrons on their very first day.
A “grand opening” is planned for Cinco de Mayo. But yours truly yearned for a taste of Kahlo’s fare and booked a table for my family for the following evening.
Readers may remember that I am fortunate to have lived in the Southwest. I grew up with local dishes prepared by authentic cooks in tiny neighborhood kitchens. Further education of my taste buds came from exposure to cuisine prepared by Rick Bayless and other stellar chefs.
Kahlo’s Cantina offers one a taste excursion to the interior of Mexico without the need to board a plane.
So many great choices and only three tummies to fill means a few return trips will be planned to work my way through this scrumptious list of dishes. Here’s my research so far:
Portions are very generous on all the items, so pace yourselves…
Stuffed Jalapenos: Each bite filled my mouth with creamy goat cheese and bacon. The topping of mango and pineapple salsa cooled the fire just enough, so jalapeños were not too spicy in this type of preparation.
While we might argue over how to pronounce the name of this dish, the preparation with fresh shrimp marinated in lime juice — decorated with slices of ripe avocados, serrano chilies and cilantro — was a beautiful presentation, and tasted as good as it looks on the plate.
My husband always wants to kick up the heat a notch. His request for Tabasco sauce was met at the table by a server bearing an oversized bottle full of a spicy chili oil. He was pleasantly surprised.
Quite the presentation, the traditional stuffed poblano pepper coated in a light and tender batter and sauced with ahogada, a tomato-based sauce, was animated by placement of sliced radishes and slices of avocado. Cheese oozed out with each bite. Loved the extra crunch and piquant of the radish slices, a nice foil, along with the avocado to the hot spicy sauce.
Smoky shredded chicken filled two soft corn tortillas, folded in half rather than rolled made for less challenge to fork up each bite. Dressed with a generous red guajillo sauce, one could taste the carrots and onions that were simmered with the chicken thighs for this dish.
This dish arrived to table on a big wooden platter. The steak knife was unnecessary as the grilled skirt steak was tender and easily portioned with a fork. Sliced avocado, chorizo, queso fresco and pico de gallo, components to be combined and wrapped in soft flour tortillas completed the ensemble on the plate.
A choice of two sides is offered with each of our dinner entrées:
– Roasted “elote style” corn is slightly crisped and topped with crema.
– Vegetables are roasted in house and combinations vary based on what’s in the kitchen.
– Mexican rice, with broth flavoring the long grain kernels. A crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds added extra texture.
– Black beans sauced with chilies and cilantro added accents to the dish components.
We chose non-alcohol versions, and enjoyed tastes of refreshing ingredients.
Sported a huge wedge of sweet pineapple, and the creamy mixture held its composition throughout the meal.
Mint and lime are perfect partners in this version and portions balanced, from the first sip to the last slurp.
And dessert! Only had room for one, yet another reason to return and try out other offerings.
res Leches Cake is a sponge cake. “Sponge” to soak up the milk, and there are three types in the filling plus one in the topping (whole milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream). This is an excellent cake for milk lovers, and a beautiful sight to behold, decorated with assorted fresh berries at Kahlo’s.
We settled on one beautiful serving, accompanied by three spoons.
What a great addition to our restaurant community.
102 Main St.
— By Kathy Passage
A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.