Tacos in DC – The best according to 6 chefs


Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge executive chef Jeff Eng: Taqueria & Pupuseria El Paso, a taco truck outside of the Gaithersburg DMV. He likes the face and tongue tacos: “The meat is really rich and caramelized, and they serve the tacos with radishes and their own hot sauces.” He adds that there’s always a line, and he almost enjoys going to the DMV now.

Mandu co-owner Danny Lee: “Chinito’s Burritos near Union Market! My buddy Jin Chong owns it, and it is absolutely delicious. It’s great because everything is incredibly fresh, and you can taste it in the food. I love getting a chicken taco with his salsa verde. He makes all of the salsas in-house and roasts almost everything that goes into them. He also makes a few hot sauces too that are delicious and incredible spicy.”

Ghibellina executive chef Jonathan Copeland: “My two go-to taco places are Taqueria La Placita in Hyattsville, MD, and when I want to stay in my neighborhood, Super Tacos on Columbia Road in DC (recommended by fellow chef Johnny Spero [of Minibar]). I love lengua, al pastor and cochinita pibil. All the tacos are super traditional with minimum garnish and on two corn tortillas.”

Carolina Kitchen chef-owner Lance London loves TaKorean at Union Market: He likes the caramelized tofu tacos topped with fresh ingredients like cilantro, spicy slaw, kale and Sriracha served on a warm tortilla. “I love it because of its fresh, healthy, interesting flavors. [Plus], fast service!”

Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar chef-partner Robert Underwood: “I am half Mexican and originally from out West so have searched high and low for some good Mexican home cooking in these parts and I have found it mainly in Riverdale, MD. My recommendation would be Taqueria Tres Reyes on Kennilworth Avenue just outside of DC. I always get the Tacos Dorados (golden tacos) or, as we call them in Cali, “taquitos.” They are corn tortillas filled with shredded beef then tightly rolled and deep fried. They come covered with queso fresco, an avocado sauce and shredded lettuce. You can also get them in chicken, pork, chorizo or beef tongue, but I like the shredded beef the best. While there, you can pop a dollar in their jukebox and your selection will play at a volume that makes the whole building shudder and shake as you crunch away on the taquitos. Good times!”

Alba Osteria chef de cuisine Amy Brandwein: She hits the El Chilango food truck in Arlington when she has a craving. “The tongue and chorizo tacos are great. The salsa verde has a nice kick, and the owners work really hard to make you happy. Prices are fantastic.” (By the way, there is also a brick-and-mortar Tacos El Chilango in DC at 1119 V St. NW).

– From Zagat – posted on April 29th 2014

Happy taco eating!

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