Saturday, August 3, 2013

District Taco

"In 2009, two neighbors got together over some homemade chips, salsa and guacamole and decided to launch District Taco as a food truck. District Taco has since grown and now operates multiple locations in and around Washington DC."   Serving quality Mexican (Yucatan style) food that is fresh, simple and healthy, the restaurant's trademark is "Orale!" which roughly translates to "Right On!"  I tried the newest location in Capitol Hill.  Closest Metro is Eastern Market.

Keith and I walked over to the newest District Taco location for an early dinner.  The expansive space takes over a former organic market and is now transformed into a large fast-casual restaurant with high exposed ceilings and plenty of seating.  After ordering your food at the counter, you are given a number and then you can grab your own drinks and salsa before finding a table to sit at.  When your order is ready, they will call out your number - you flag them - and they will bring it over to you.  The tacos are on the small side and is recommended three per person.  You can choose between a flour or corn tortilla and either "Mexican Way" with onions and cilantro or "American Way" with cheese, lettuce, and pico.  We ordered a variety of six tacos plus a side of the black beans.  Other items on the menu include burritos and quesadillas, plus a few specials such as ceviche, but we wanted to stick with the name sake first.

Boylan Soda is their fountain soda and a salsa bar features help-yourself varieties from Tomatillo (mild) and Mestizo (hot) to jalapeno or lime wedges.  First, I ate a special taco not on the regular menu - the Fish Taco that came with onions, cilantro, tomato, and chipotle mayo on a flour tortilla.  The fish was a solid fillet piece but was slightly overcooked and charred on the edges leaving for a dry texture.  The chipotle mayo added a nice bright flavor to the fish and a squirt of fresh lime juice took it over the edge.  I would order this taco again.  Next, I tried the Pollo Asada Taco sparsely filled with overcooked grilled chicken.  I ordered it simply the "Mexican Way," but would order more toppings next time to fill out this lackluster taco.  I finished out my meal with a side of the frijoles negros that were very traditional in flavor and presentation and I appreciated the vegetarian preparation.

Keith ate the remaining four tacos.  First, he tried the Carnitas Taco that was slow cooked pull pork "Mexican Way" on a corn tortilla.  He felt the pork meat could have been seasoned a bit more and ended up adding a bunch of salsa to this plain taco.  Next, he ate a Carne Asada Taco with grilled chopped steak.  He chose it "American Way" with cheese, lettuce, and pico on a flour tortilla.  Continuing the trend, only a few chunks of meat were present and it was overcooked, dry, and a bit tough.  Turning things around, Keith finished out with two tacos that ended up being his favorite - the Barbacoa and Al Pastor.  The Barbacoa Taco was stuffed with slow cooked shredded beef and he chose "American Way" on a flour tortilla.  The meat was very flavorful and tender in this taco.  The Al Pastor Taco came with carved rotisserie pork, marinated with spicy guajillo, and topped with chopped pineapple.  He ordered it "Mexican Way" on a corn tortilla.  This taco was overstuffed with goodies - a contrast from the tacos I had - leaving me a bit jealous.  All in all, the straight forward service, fresh ingredients, great prices, and friendly staff at District Taco are definitely "Orale!"

Total Rating: 3.73
Food: 3.5, Price: 4.5, Service: 3, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Fish Taco
with onions, cilantro, tomato, chipotle mayo

Polla Asada Taco
grilled chicken with onions and cilantro ("Mexican Way") on a flour tortilla

Frijoles Negros
vegetarian black beans

Plus Keith ate:
slow cooked pull pork with onions and cilantro ("Mexican Way")
on a corn tortilla

slow cooked shredded beef with cheese, lettuce, 
and pico ("American Way") on a flour tortilla

Carne Asada
grilled chopped steak with cheese, lettuce,
and pico ("American Way") on a flour tortilla

Al Pastor
carved rotisserie pork, marinated with guajillo, chopped pineapple,
with onions and cilantro ("Mexican Way") on a corn tortilla

District Taco on Urbanspoon

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