Monday, June 3, 2013

Chupacabra

Chupacabra is a new Latin kitchen and taqueria in the Atlas District.  Actually located on 9th St right off of H St NE, there are signs and a large painting with their recognizable logo to lead you in the right direction. However, 9th St does not cut across H St, so you have to come down either 10th or 8th and cut over.  Closest Metro is Union Station.


I tried the mandarin and
Keith had the lime.
As a food truck, Chupacabra – named after the mythical south-of-the-border beast who sucks on goats' blood for sustenance – was quite popular.  But they wanted to expand into the brick-and-mortar world and partnered with the same team behind Sticky Rice to open up a more permanent shop.  Open Sunday - Thursday from 11am to 11pm and Friday - Saturday from 11am to 2am, the menu features Latin fast-casual classics such as soups, salads, tacos and arepas - a crunchy, cheese-filled delicious fried corn cake. Most items are gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free.  Bottled water, canned sodas, as well as bottled Mexican Jarritos are available as drinks. You order at the counter and go find a seat - there is limited indoor seating and more plentiful outdoor benches.  They will bring you your food when it is ready.  The owners are looking to expand seating and perhaps cover the outdoor area in the future.

Keith and I had the day off and stopped into Chupacabra for lunch.  Keith originally wanted to try the Beef Barbacoa taco, but was told that it was not quite ready yet. So he opted for the Al Pastor - a taco made from guajillo and pineapple marinated pork that was slow roasted on a spit - and the triple starred Borrego del Fuego.  The three stars signify the very hot spice level of this taco made of leg of lamb meat marinated with habanero and spices.  Despite the heat, he enjoyed the lamb taco better than the pork and was pleased overall.

I chose the more tame Pollo Sofrito tacos made with tender chicken simmered in sofrito and spices.  They were topped with shredded radish and diced red onions that gave nice texture to the taco.  The chicken meat was plentiful and very flavorful.  One taco was enough for me, so Keith ate the other one.  I also wanted to try one of the arepas and chose the plain queso fresco arepa.  It was oozing with loads of cheese - just the way I like it. The corn cake was a lovely golden brown, thick, and crunchy.  The arepa was quite filling by itself and the perfect compliment to the more spicy tacos.

To quote The Hill is Home, "The place is no-frills and perfect for those on a budget, but judging by these preliminary experiences, I think you won't be disappointed in the fresh and flavorful fare."  I was very pleased with the food and the prices were decent (tacos are $3-4 each, arepas are $4-6 each, with other chef specials ranging from $6-9 each).

Total Rating: 4.13
Food: 4.5, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Arepa Queso Fresco

Pollo Sofrito

Plus Keith ate:
Al PastorBorrego del Fuego

Chupacabra on Urbanspoon

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