Restaurant Review: Katalina’s
Katalina’s is well known for pancake balls.
Well, yes, it does have pancake balls. And yes, they’re quite good. They’re also known for chorizo tacos.
Yes, the tacos are nice too. But, there are other things on the menu — things that are lesser-known and also worth investigation. Sure, the stop is a renown weekend brunch staple. It’s a place where diners queue up and happily wait for their moment in the sun to enjoy its famous edibles. But, the world of the lesser-known items on the menu is worthwhile too, and the lines on the weekdays are much less daunting.
Case in point, The Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich ($11.65). Katalina’s added fried chicken offerings a while back (the other one being a salad). It’s not so much the contribution of the thick slab of fried chicken itself, but how it comes together inside its ciabatta package that is so very pleasing. It’s simple-looking enough, with shards of greens and rings of tomatoes, but there’s this peppery, peach habanero jelly that gives it both a zingy sweetness, and an evil burn that makes the package itself a winner.
Or there’s the Mazatlan Slow Roasted Pork & Egg sandwich ($11.95) . It’s served on thick, grilled slices of bread, and filled with soft shreds of pork and a hard fried egg with a broken yolk for good distribution. Topped off with avocado and melted provolone, it all melds together for an intensely satisfying sandwich experience.
There’s a healthy selection of tacos, and vegetarians can score with Shagbark Black Bean Tacos ($10.75). Shagbark is an Ohio farm operation. Most people are familiar with its corn chips (also served here, and the aforementioned fried chicken is breaded with them). Katalina’s puts Shagbark’s black beans with sprouts, tomatoes, avocado, corn and greens in a white corn tortilla. Go ahead and pay the twenty-cent upcharge for a little sour cream and queso fresco: it ties it all together.
And finally, Chorizo Tacos ($11.35). An attempt to order the lunch time ones (with brussels sprouts) yielded the breakfast version, which are evidently the award-winning ones anyway. Accepting those events as divine intervention seemed like the best approach at the minute, which destined the table to three soft shells stuffed with slices of avocado and a scrambled egg/chorizo mix with sour cream. As combined, the flavors and textures don’t feel particularly adventurous or novel, but the combo is not a bad fate, all-in-all. The chorizo is house-made and on the milquetoast side, clotted with egg. It makes a sturdy meal. With the taco orders, there’s also a fun little chunk of savory frosted corn: a sophisticated version of elote.
In warmer weather, outdoor seating is ample. During the colder months, expect significant challenges in finding indoor seating during prime hours. Katalina’s is a clamoring order-at-the-counter operation, so be ready to use your outdoor voice when you make your selections. It’s also a good idea to plan your order ahead by looking at menu choices online. Otherwise, the chalkboard is the main point of information access. You can find it at 1105 Pennsylvania Ave.
For more information, visit www.katalinascafe.com.