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Jul 6, 2007 02:38 PM

Taqueria Nationale

A quick post on this new joint next to Johnny's Half Shell on Capitol Hill. Supposedly authentic, but I've never been to Mexico. Well, I was once in Cancun (not on purpose) but that's a long story.

Tried the pork and fish. The tortillas are served room temperature and are dry. It takes a lot of sauce to choke these down. Overall, I prefer it when the tortillas have been puffed up on the grill, which also brings out their corn flavor. Maybe an inauthentic way to eat them, but boy they can be good. I would not cross town for these. But I would consider crossing town for the horchata, which I'm told is made from chufa, not a mix. You can taste the difference. Makes me want to try their other agua frescas. If you are on Capitol Hill, this place is worth stopping in for the drinks. I will keep it on my Chow radar.

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  1. Since I found out about this place, I've been going about once a week to try everything on their menu. On my first trip I got the pork and a side of rice. I would of said that the rice was wonderful if it wasn't for the fact some of the rice was undercooked. I have yet to try it again as I'm still going through the process of trying everything. I also found the horchata to be delightful and their quacamole is addictive. I work next to Union Station so food choices are rather limited. I found Taqueria National a welcome additon to the neighborhood. There is only so many times you can eat a bulgogi sandwich from Lucky's or a turkey spinach wrap from Cafe Philips. Oh and for those that try out Taqueria bring breath mints. Man, I get major stink breath after eating there, but it is worth it.

    3 Replies
      1. re: NoVaDog

        Yeah, where is this Lucky's? Bulgogi sandwich? I work near Union Station too, and I eat at least 2 times a week at Taqueria Nationale now. Would love another good option...

        1. re: eating out

          It's on North Capital, about two blocks down from Union Station (opposite direction of Taqueria) and on the side of the block that Union Station is. Sorry, if that doesn't make sense.

          The Bulgogi sandwhich is kind of a DIY. I get the Seoul sandwich with no mayo or cheese and put on top of it so-so kimchi (but it's fresh so it works) from the salad bar. Sometimes they have bean sprout salad, spinach salad and kimbop at the salad bar as well.

    1. So the horchata is made from Chufa? That's very strange for Mexican horchata. In Spain horchata is made from chufa, but in Mexico they use rice and other ingredients, but chufa is not the "traditional" ingredient of mexican horchata.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cleveland park

        I read it in the City Paper article. I always enjoy learning new things, so thanks for the info, but I'm not going to quibble with deliciousness.

        1. re: Steve

          haha me neither, I actually like the spanish kind better b/c its lighter and most places carry the central american horchata. Until now the only places where i could get horchata from chufa was at jaleo and A&H seafood so I appreciate the information, apologies for coming across as trying to quibble

      2. I also just tried Taqueria Nacionale this past week. I got the egg and chorizo taco for breakfast. It was very good. And the sauces are all top-notch. Went back for lunch and had the pork, fish, and beef tacos. I would love to give the place the highest marks, b/c it's such a cool little place and it reminds me of authentic Texas & Mexican taco shacks (I'm from Texas and spent time in Mexico), but it is a little hit and miss. Unfortunately the beef and fish tacos were only so-so. The pork taco, however, was delicious. The previous poster was right. The tacos would be soooo much better if they grilled the tortillas fresh. They are pretty dry. But, they go down pretty well w/ the excellent salsas. The aguas frescas here are a steal! They are $2 and appear to be "real juice from real fruit." I can't overestate how good they are. I got pina for breakfast, and got watermelon and canteloupe in the afternoon--which I took home and made popsicles with--yum. Oh, and their coffee is also really good and cheap. It's Mayorga coffee from Silver Spring, and it's in a thermos so it doesn't get burned. This place is one of the few new gems to Capitol Hill. I just wish its hours weren't M-F 7-3pm. It's hard to get to during those times.