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Kahlo's Cantina: A long-awaited dinner | Arts & Appetite

 

Last updated 7/16/2021 at 9:50am

Photo courtesy of Maria A. Montalvo

Enchiladas with elote corn and beans.

Most of us who travel by or near the Edmonds ferry have been anxiously awaiting the completion of the major remodel of the spot now known as Kahlo's Cantina. We saw the signs go up in nearly two years ago, and waited, wondering when or if it would still materialize.

Then suddenly, the beautiful fountain by the front door was running, and the patio doors to the back deck overlooking Puget Sound were open and beckoning.

The inside of the restaurant is simply lovely. As you walk in the front entrance, the beautiful bar and seating become visible as you reach the host station on the right, while the views of the Sound and the patio open up in front of you.

As you are taken to your table, the stunning mural of Frida Kahlo on the left takes your attention. Whether you love Frida Kahlo's art or not (I do), you will love this colorful mural.

Kahlo's Cantina is a modern Mexican restaurant with a wide variety of dishes and an even wider selection of margaritas. The menu tempted with a number of house specialties that should stretch you to try something new, as well as tried and true classics, like tacos and enchiladas.

Even the well-known dishes, though, have a unique Kahlo's twist.

In the end, and over two meals, we tried several of both. Kahlo's appetizers and salads are tasty and a good size to accompany the yummy salsas and chips that arrive immediately at the table, along with an enthusiastic welcome.

The guacamole ($10), a key test of any Mexican restaurant, was fresh, flavorful, and beautifully served, while the grilled jalapeños ($14) are definitely not a popper, but that's OK since they are wrapped in bacon.

The nachos ($12) will make the purist and adventurist happy, with queso, pico de gallo, jalapeños, Mexican crema, black beans, and guacamole.

For dinner, our table was a colorful and tasty mix of carne asada ($26), the chile relleno ($20), smoky chicken enchiladas ($15), and tacos dorados ($16). The tacos are served on a crispy tortilla with either beef birria or roasted potatoes and served with a delightful cabbage escabeche (pickled), radish, and tomato sauce.

All of us were happy, with the asada garnering praise for its perfect preparation and selection of fresh veggies. Two sides accompany most dishes, and you can choose from roasted elote-style corn, papas fritas, vegetables, Mexican rice, or black beans.

All of the sides are very good, with the corn being a dish I rarely find, but love, and the papas one I don't allow myself unless they are worth the calories (these are). I would take a little more heat in the salsas and sauces, but we lived in the Southwest and like it extra spicy.

Photo courtesy of Maria A. Montalvo

The scratch citrus margarita, and Kahlo's Margarita, with fresh basil and agave.

If you want a cocktail, it will take time to decide what to order because of the long list of options and specialty drinks. Nearly all are $12 and served in very generous margarita glasses. Two of us tried the scratch citrus margaritas, and two the Kahlo's Margarita, with fresh basil and agave.

Both were great and filled with goodness, quite large, but my husband and I like a classic margarita with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and the scratch citrus was fantastic ... tart, balanced, a beautiful, salted rim. Of course, knowing that two types of margaritas are so good bodes well to try one of the 20-plus others.

We will go back to Kahlo's. The ownership clearly wants guests to be happy inside its walls. We are fortunate in Edmonds to have this new, attractive restaurant with that feeling of care for a satisfying meal.

Oh, and just steps from our beautiful waterfront.

Go to kahloscantina.com for more information.

 

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