Xochitl is named after the Nahuatl word for flower, but the sunny restaurant in Headhouse Square is more concerned with an entirely different part of the plant. That would be the piña, the core of the blue agave plant that Mexican jimadores turn into tequila. At Xochitl, selections from a deep tequila list accompany slow-cooked Mexican comfort foods in a space designed for sipping and savoring. Today's Reserve selection invites you to see how these elements come together with a four-course prix fixe dinner for two with Patrón pairings—view the rundown on each course, with two menu options that feature tacos or large plates.
Meals begin with a shareable order of guacamole and house-made tortilla chips served with a pour of Patrón blanco—the youngest of the tequila pairings, with a stronger flavor that makes a good foil for the avocados' creaminess. Then it's on to the huarache de hongos, a classic Mexican cake of masa that's topped with seared mushrooms, and, in a nod to its Mediterranean cousin the pizza, marinated artichokes. The accompanying sip of Patrón reposado matches the mushrooms' earthiness with a hint of smoke.
For the main course, opt for chicken, carnitas, or spicy brisket tacos on house-made tortillas, each with a different set of piquant toppings to complement the meat. Vegetarians can continue to explore the shapes of masa with a roasted-vegetable sope. There's also Chilean salmon, braised short rib with pasilla chili gravy, and even fried chicken. Over the course of the three days it takes to prepare, the pollo frito spends 24 hours soaking in brine before being steamed, fried crisp, and drizzled with sweet chili sauce. (Pairs might wish to trade bites to see how each entree plays against the complex Patrón añejo.) Dessert brings a classic combination of chocolate, cream, and coffee: a slice of chocolate tres leches cake and a pour of Patrón's XO Café coffee liqueur.
As guests dine, "a casual cantina vibe reigns," according to Philadelphia Magazine. A tiled backsplash behind the bar, carved woodwork, and mango-yellow walls all contribute to the dining room's homey charm. There's plenty of room for touches of whimsy—for instance, the trio of supersized lotería cards that can be seen hanging on one wall.