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El Vato Tequila & Taco Bar, Emphasis on Bar; 3 Stars for Catharsis

El Vato Tequila & Taco Bar, says Lee Klein, "is more of a bar/lounge than dining establishment; it's not glitzy enough to be in Rosa [Mexicano]'s competitive bracket." There are 60 tequilas and a small menu features tacos served "the way it ought to be," and "does the right thing concerning sourcing," serving certified humane chicken and beef. They cater to vegans too. Flautas were tasty in a "Totino's Pizza Rolls way," burrito "needed jazzing," fajitas were "tasty," and the biggest miss was a $5 "pair of enchiladas so flimsily filled with cheese that the main flavor was corn tortilla and red sauce spiked with chili powder." [MNT]

Victoria Pesce Elliott says there's "something refreshingly naïve about Catharsis, an ambitiously named and unusually endearing supper club in Little Havana." A fun place for a date night, she writes, "The menu and website promote gimmicky experiences, including dining in the dark, an occasional prix-fix dinner in sleep glasses." That said, the "place is worth a try," she says, and "chef Alberto Llano has training and talent, even if his dishes are sometimes exuberantly garnished circa 1990 with sprigs of this and that more for looks than flavor." A big list of pros include "Incredibly juicy, deeply flavorful short ribs," "Incredibly satisfying parillada de mariscos," and "a moist filet of corvina." Mixed green salad and stuffed ravioli, not so much. Bottom line: 3 stars. [Miami.com]

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