Saturday, February 11, 2012

El Centro D.F.

This swanky Taqueria & Tequileria on 14th Street is the creation of internationally acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval. Traditional culinary techniques are combined with fresh, high quality ingredients to create authentic Mexican comfort food at El Centro D.F.  Closest Metro is U Street - Cardozo.

Designed to reflect the bustling street shops and colorful rituals of everyday life in Mexico, the restaurant is comprised of three distinct dining spaces all under one roof. The Taqueria features a casual atmosphere where a lively open kitchen serves authentic favorites. The Tequileria allows guests to dine or lounge as mixologists craft Latin cocktails from 200 Tequilas & Mezcals. Along the rooftop guests raise a glass at two open-air bars. Warm, Latin-inspired service and welcoming hospitality will round out your experience.

Keith and I decided to try El Centro's Bottomless Brunch to celebrate an early Valentine's Day together.  I had heard great things about this "all you can eat & drink" brunch offered every Saturday & Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM for only $35.  Since the options are endless, we decided to order A LOT and share it all. First, the bottomless selection of "breakfast" cocktails included Michilada, Bloody Maria, or a choice of seasonal aqua fresco cocktails: hibiscus, watermelon, and pineapple.  We tried one of each, except the Bloody Maria, and my favorite by far was the hibiscus aqua fresco.  Keith favored the pineapple, but ventured out near the end and tried the Michilada - sort of like a Bloody Mary but made with beer instead of vodka with lots of salt around the rim.  In general, we thought the drinks could have been stronger overall.

For food, our server brought us a plate of chips with salsa, guacamole,and shrimp ceviche to start.  The menu mentioned a choice of fruit salad, but she did not bring that and we did not bother to ask.  Then we placed our first orders in - the Enfrijoladas caught my eye and were the most "breakfasty" thing I ate next to the Mexican French Toast.  I loved the bean sauce on top and thought the eggs were really fluffy.  We also ordered the Jalisco Enchiladas, which were very rich with the pepper sauce and could have been slightly warmer in temperature.  Next, we ordered a few tacos and Keith asked for some hot sauce on the side. When asked if he wanted medium or spicy, Keith chose the latter and boy, was it spicy. The first taste made his tongue numb, but he found some of the dishes really needed an extra kick.  We managed to stay for less than two hours, as service was pretty quick. We could have stayed longer since we did not have other plans and were not being rushed out by the staff, but I was totally stuffed.  El Centro's brunch is a great deal with authentic Mexican food and a fun twist on traditional breakfast food.  I was surprised that many tables around us did not take advantage of the bottomless deal, rather opting for items a la carte.  This place would be fun for small groups and I would like to check out the heated roof deck next time.

Total Rating: 4
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Chips with Salsa, Guacamole, Shrimp Ceviche

scrambled eggs, morita bean sauce, chorizo

Jaliscos Enchiladas
shrimp, crab, Oaxaca cheese, rajas

Chicken Tinga Taco

Mexican French Toast

Plus Keith ate:
Carne Asada Taco

Barbacoa Taco

El Centro D.F. on Urbanspoon

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