I never think about Colibri when I think about Baldwin Park restaurants. Part of the reason is that the Mexican restaurant sits at the end of New Broad Street, apart from most of the other businesses. But it also doesn’t come to mind because its cuisine and the general dining experience are so forgettable.
Unfortunately, Colibri’s new location, in Orlando’s Sodo district, is just as unmemorable. It’s a lovely space — it took over the Egg & I and made it a bright, colorful and comfortable place. But the food just doesn’t excite; it’s remarkably bland. And service on a recent visit was inexplicably slow, even in a mostly empty restaurant.
And what Mexican restaurant worth its salsa runs out of pork before 7 p.m.?
But that sort of thing happens. A better question: Why would anyone put ceviche on top of a tostada?
Ceviche, as you know, is the seafood dish popular in coastal regions of Mexico in which the fish, shrimp and/or scallops are “cooked” in citrus juices, juices being the operative word. Tostada, of course, is a fried — or toasted, if you will — tortilla. When the juices of the ceviche sit for more than a few seconds on top of a toasted tortilla, you have a soggy mess.
By the way, soggy is also an appropriate description for the complimentary chips served upon seating, though in this case they’re damp from oil. On one hand, it’s nice that they apparently make their own chips; on the other hand, greasy.
Tacos are listed on the menu for some reason under a heading that reads “Gourmet Tacos,” though they are arguably one of the most pedestrian things on the menu, and appropriately so. They’re served on double corn tortillas and are offered in a variety of meats, seafood and even vegetarian options. The Taco al Pastor was fine; so was the steak. I actually just wanted to try one taco, but the rules of the house is that you must order two.
I was initially attracted to the Carne Tlilli because the dish of pork tips cooked in various chilies and spices isn’t found on many menus hereabouts. But the kitchen was out of pork tips. Instead I had the Cochinita Pibil — pulled pork was available — served on a banana leaf between bland refried beans and uninteresting rice with sour cream and a dollop of a bright green substance that for the sake of argument I will concede was supposed to be guacamole. The pork could have benefitted from some seasoning.
A note on the menu says that the Mexican specialties “require additional time for preparation,” though I can’t imagine why. And certainly not the delay that my guests and I experienced.
I love Mexican food. It’s one of my favorite cuisines. I wanted to like Colibri when it opened in Baldwin Park and I wanted to find that things had improved with the opening of this new location. But unfortunately, they have not.
Colibri Mexican Cuisine Sodo is at 2380 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-250-4488.