Monday, November 25, 2019

Poca Madre

Poca Madre is an upscale Mexican restaurant by Chef Victor Albisu, offering a refined contemporary dining experience in the heart of the nation's capital. Located next door to his taco spot, Taco Bamba, the 70-seat interior of Poca Madre is accented with colors of deep green and black, complemented with gold and bronze accents. An outdoor lounge is available for enjoyment in the warmer months.  Closest Metro is Chinatown.

We stopped for dinner here before seeing a concert at the Capitol One Arena.  Service was a bit slow at first, but one of the managers came over and quickly ran down the menu.  With over 50 types of mezcal - tequila's smoky cousin - I wanted to try one of the house cocktails.  I chose the Margarita Madre made with mezcal, lime, orange-scented agave, carved rock, Guajillo Sal de Gusano. It was light in lime flavor and the smokiness came through nicely, however I didn't want a second. Keith ordered a beer to start - the El Guapo Agave IPA.  It had a nice balance of hops and citrus.

While most everything on the menu looked tasty and we wanted them all, we decided to share the Tuna and Uni Tostada with cucumber, jalapeno, coconut, and avocado.  This bite was a lovely marriage of sweetness with subtle spice.  The uni was incredibly fresh and lended a burst of the ocean in its bite.

Another stunner we shared was the Hamachi Ceviche.  The pretty pink color was from hibiscus agua Jamaica, and added spice in this dish came from garlic and chile serrano.  Keith really felt the heat in one of his bites that almost brought tears to his eyes.

As a main dish, I ordered the Day Boat Scallops served with a butternut-pineapple mole, quintonil, brown butter, and hoja santa.  I am normally a fan of butternut squash, however the preparation here was a weird spicy vinegary mix that I did not like.  Also, the little grains were hard in texture and had no flavor.  The saving grace to this dish were the scallops themselves - cooked perfectly with a slight brown butter char and sweet and tender interior.

Keith opted for the fancy burrito called The King stuffed with wagyu, lobster, robiola and black beans then topped with black truffle and caviar.  For $32 this burrito was decadent and he could taste each element in every bite.

For dessert, we shared the Oaxacan Chocolate Mousse with sesame ice cream and caramelized peanuts. It tasted like a fancy Reese's peanut butter crunch cup and was a nice finish to our upscale Mexican dinner.  Keith also ordered the Fat Duck Old Fashioned made with Vago Elote, Ron Zacapa 23yr, foie gras honey, chocolate mole bitters, and burgundy truffle. He really did not taste any of those extra flavors and found it to be overall a bit watery from sitting a bit too long on ice.

All in all we enjoyed the shared appetizers and appreciated the fresh seafood.  We would return to try the other items and some more cocktails.

Total Rating: 3.9
Food: 4, Price: 3.5, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

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