Restaurateur Richard Sandoval‘s recently opened space at 1819 14th Street serves up fancy tacos, enchiladas, and other standard Mexican fare with aplomb.
You may know Sandoval from his other DC hot spots, Masa 14 and Zengo (he has others planted in New York, Las Vegas and all over the west). His philosophy is “old ways, new hands,” which is to say that he spins classic dishes in ways that make you perk up and pay attention.
The menu at El Centro D.F. is sparse but makes for fairly easy decision making. The Baja (fish) Tacos are creamy, not puckery, and immediately satisfy. They are a far cry from the overly-large and (I’ll say it) greasy tacos at Lauriol Plaza. The Chicken Zarape, a marinated chicken breast topped with minced veggies and bacon and drizzled with a dreamy sauce, also comes highly recommended.
Sip on a signature margarita or two and enjoy the dark ambiance. Drinks are made with the bar’s homemade sour mix: not too sweet, not too tart. The bar is stocked with over 100 different tequilas. Que rico!!
Complete with a rooftop deck (albeit without any views) for the warmer months and a tequila cellar for special events, El Centro mostly delivers. The drinks are a bit overpriced but thankfully the food isn’t.
Co-written by Joel Church.