So this past Monday was my first night of Restaurant Week, and I was ecstatic. I’d told some colleagues of my intent to try El Centro DF near U Street Corridor and everyone applauded me for a great choice. I was also forewarned about the sneak-up-on-you potency of the margaritas and I knew it was meant to be! Especially for the kind of Monday I’d had.
Needless to say, when Iarrived too early for my reservation, I made my way to the rooftop bar to celebrate Margarita Mondays, immediately! I threw caution to the wind and got the full monty: a frozen margarita with housemade strawberry and mango puree. When I first tasted it I literally made a face, and looked at my companion complaining, this isn’t strong, at all. Yea…next time, I’ll listen when the sages talk to me.
Luckily we were able to bring our drinks downstairs to the dining area. Our waitress is all smiles as she hands us 3 different menus. I completely overlook the first two menus and go for the Restaurant Week menu, which is light on options, per usual, but really packed a punch in terms of pitting some real gems against each other. It was really tough to choose (except for dessert, where the only option is churros. But come on, that’s a good option!)
A weird thing happened when I tried to order, however. For my starter I wanted to go outside of my usual box. When I saw the tostadas with cactus and fresh veggies, I thought, Hell yes! But our server tried to talk me into the pork carnitas sopas. Which was cool. I guess. But if you keep forcing everyone away from the tostadas, won’t you have a shit ton of tostadas at the end of the night? I was so confused by the line of inquiry, but ended up sticking with the cactus. I also ordered the Baja tacos, which the server agreed was an excellent choice. Thanks?
My dining companion, who is also a good friend, went rogue from the Restaurant Week menu and ordered seviche from the regular menu. Rogue, yes, but bad, absolutely not. I’m so glad he did because the seviche was super yummy! There was a little more sauce than we were used to, but didn’t take away from the deliciousness.
After we ordered, we chit-chatted a bit and took a look around. I love the ambiance here. It has almost a cavernous feel, where it was very cool. Almost like a retreat from the outer elements, which I liked. I also found myself rocking out to the music a good number of times. Great ambiance, the music was in wide variety. When our dishes arrived, the plating was very smart- looking. My tostados were laid out side by side on a rectangular dish, held in place by a little avocado spread. Such a great choice because I licked my fingers after each one! The cactus didn’t really have a taste, but the cheese and sauce held all the veggies together nicely! Next, our entrees came from the kitchen. Again, immaculate exhibition: the black bean puree and rice were in silver bowls, supported by holes on a wooden block and adorned by a taco tray that held the tacos, obviously.
And the churros?? They were piping hot! Directly released from the grease, then promptly adorned with caramel and chocolate sauce. Just delectable.
Everything was well executed. This was an authentic Mexican place, without the sometimes drastic food hangover! But the server thing really threw me off. Had I had a few more drinks, however, I never would’ve noticed so. There’s that.