Restaurant Review Roulette: Cantina 18

Greg Cox reviews Cameron Village’s new Southwestern/Mexican joint, Cantina 18, in this Friday’s News & Observer.  Cantina 18 is the creation of Jason Smith, the chef of 18 Seaboard, and it has received mixed reviews from my friends and colleagues.  Those who are well-versed in authentic Mexican food don’t care for it all that much, whereas folks who enjoy a burrito from Moe’s recognize that this is a step up from that chain-restaurant fare.  Some people have complained about the prices (particularly when compared to a taqueria), but this is more uspscale, and the tacos come with rice, beans and slaw.  I’ve yet to eat there, simply because the place had so many initial problems that needed to be resolved.  I’m now ready to give it a try, and I suspect I’ll like it just fine.

But that’s not all that relevant or important, as what we really are concerned with is how many stars Greg Cox will give the place.  I suspect he’ll like the fact that this is not a typical cookie-cutter Mexican restaurant, that Jason Smith took some chances.  I think he’ll like the fact that it’s in Cameron Village, a place that needs some originality with its restaurants.  I think he’ll like the food, too.  But I don’t think he’ll love it.  To me, this is a 3.5 star place all the way.  We shall see.

Here are the odds:

5 stars — 99 to 1

4.5 stars – 13 to 1

4 stars — 3 to 1

3.5 stars — 5 to 3

3 stars — 4 to 1

2.5 stars — 7 to 1

2 stars — 11 to 1

1.5 stars — 21 to 1

1 star — 33 to 1

I’m hedging my bets here intentionally.  This is a place where Greg Cox could have had a great experience, or a lousy one.  How many stars do you think it deserves?


Edit, July 9, 2010 — It’s a 3 star review for Cantina 18, with Greg Cox saying there’s been a marked improvement over the preceding visit each of the three times he’s visited.


2 Responses to Restaurant Review Roulette: Cantina 18

  1. dmccall says:

    3 at most.

  2. just a gal says:

    It’s “just fine” and will be great. The service is strong, as are the drinks. Split the meals, they are large. Needs more seafood and shellfish. He’ll give it a 3 and come back.

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