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District Taco

c
cabster Nov 8, 2010 07:59 AM

I'm confused as to when District Taco (the restaurant) is open. I live nearby and am itching to try it, but it only looks open now and then. Anyone know? Thanks!

  1. alkapal Nov 8, 2010 02:26 PM

    it was pumping out some delicious smelling wood smoke today around noon!

    1. s
      Steve Nov 8, 2010 06:16 PM

      A sign on the door said they were opening at 4pm today. Did not go back to check it out, however..

      1. alkapal Nov 9, 2010 06:03 AM

        Their facebook page says they have been in a soft opening for the last couple of days, with the grand opening tomorrow, nov. 11.

        buen provecho!

        1. woodleyparkhound Nov 9, 2010 06:37 AM

          I had no idea where this place was, so I googled it. If anyone else is curious, here is the address:

          5723 Lee Highway
          Arlington, VA 22207-1424
          (703) 539-2165

          4 Replies
          1. re: woodleyparkhound
            alkapal Nov 9, 2010 06:48 AM

            it is in the old location for "restaurant vero" and next to the "cursed location" (but importantly, not IN the cursed location itself, lee highway and lexington st. -- on lee highway (rte 29) about midway between glebe to the east and rte. 66 to the west.)

            it is at the end of a very small, old strip shopping center.

            just sniff the air! follow your nose -- it always knows.

            1. re: alkapal
              c
              cabster Nov 9, 2010 07:46 AM

              It was open last night (or at least there were some people in the place) but I had already picked up some carry-out from Lebanese Taverna. I can't wait to try District Taco. Anyone eaten at their restaurant yet?

              1. re: cabster
                c
                cabster Nov 11, 2010 01:03 PM

                Hubby and I stopped by District Taco last night for a quick dinner. You can tell the place is having some growing pains--the line to order moved pretty slowly--but that could be partially customers not knowing how and what to order as well as the newness of the staff. We both had chicken and beef tacos (we'll be bolder next time!) and overall I would say they were pretty good, and the prices are quite fair. I don't like spicy food so I had my tacos pretty plain but there's a nice assortment of add-ons to the tacos, burritos, etc. We live nearby and walked there so that added to my positive feelings about the place. I don't know if it will ever be a place that's worth going way out your way for, but I do think it's a nice "local" option. I'm glad to have District Taco in the neighborhood--and I think it's going to be a great success

                1. re: cabster
                  s
                  shortorder Nov 15, 2010 07:51 AM

                  I tried them out on their first day, about Nov. 10. What I ate was pretty good, but there were clearly some logistical problems. The line moved slowly even at the register, because for each taco you needed to specify which items to include. Since I ordered three tacos, I was asked to specify which items to add to the first taco, then which items to add to the second, etc. I can only imagine that this approach also slowed down the production of the tacos, since the staff had to read three different sets of directions as to what I wanted included on my tacos.

                  And when the tacos arrived, they were wrong. But they tasted pretty good, anyway. I'll try them again when I want a taco and am in their neighborhood, instead of near Tacqueria El Caminente. Some of the non-taco items sounded like they might be worth a try, too.

          2. y
            yfunk3 Nov 15, 2010 09:07 AM

            Looks like they should do what some Five Guys branches do and have those printed order slips that lists all the toppings you can have. That way, customers can take one, check off what they want and be assigned either a number or go by a name on the order so their order won't be confused with someone else's.

            6 Replies
            1. re: yfunk3
              m
              MikeR Nov 19, 2010 03:31 AM

              Had lunch there on Wednesday. They had printed paper menus, but they were hard to find. I had a couple of tacos with the day's special, a vinegar and black pepper marinated grilled and diced pork - poc something-or-other. It was pretty tasty but I'll try the pulled pork next time.

              The tacos were nothing special, a double layer of flour tortilla piled up with the filling. I guess it's probably a necessary evil of health inspections for food storage, but I'm liking tacos less and less these days because I find the combination of the warm meat topped by ice cold salsa, veggies, and cheese just doesn't feel good when I take a bite.

              1. re: MikeR
                p
                Pappy Nov 19, 2010 07:38 AM

                FLOUR tortillas?

                1. re: Pappy
                  y
                  yfunk3 Nov 19, 2010 08:14 AM

                  Not sure if this is the case for the restaurant, but for the cart you can ask for corn tortillas and they'll happily oblige.

                  1. re: yfunk3
                    p
                    Pappy Nov 19, 2010 09:18 AM

                    Are they store bought either way?

                    1. re: Pappy
                      y
                      yfunk3 Nov 19, 2010 10:54 AM

                      Not sure. You'll have to ask them (They have a twitter account). They posted a pic or two on Twitter about making their own flour tortillas, but I dunno if they do the same for their corn tortillas.

                      1. re: Pappy
                        m
                        MikeR Nov 19, 2010 11:37 AM

                        I didn't see any little old ladies making tortillas there so I assume they're store bought. "Soft" tacos with flour tortillas are perfectly reasonable (though this might be an American invention). Trying to roll a corn tortilla around a mound of stuff usually results in the tortilla splitting.

                        I didn't see any evidence of frying and bending corn tortillas to make "hard" tacos, but corn was indeed an option by request listed on the menu.

              2. alkapal Nov 20, 2010 05:23 AM

                if the tortillas are store-bought, i wonder where they get them. mine tasted quite fresh.
                i got the ceviche de camarones, which was $8 and quite a large serving, but the shrimp were the baby shrimp. it was basically shrimp tossed a la minute with lime juice & pico de gallo, so...not a genuine ceviche in my book. with the tortilla chips (plus salt), it was fine. it would be good on a salad, with some guac. when they asked how i liked it, that's what i said; i suggested that they need to offer a small version (half the size, half the dollars), though.

                the "carnitas" filling in my taco was more like pulled pork, but was tasty, if a bit skimpy. otoh, what do you expect for $2.25? the black beans were good .

                the burrito next table looked huge -- for $7. that might be a better deal -- with a higher meat to tortilla ratio per dollar (pappy, you'll like that concept, huh? ;-).

                the tomatillo salsa was fine, but rather nondescript; the tomato chile one had some heat.

                i drank water, but was intrigued by their cane sugar-sweetened flavored fountain drinks. $1.75 for a small, with free refills.

                it was slow to get the food, and this was after 8 pm on a mid-week night. they need to find a better way to "customize" tacos -- maybe not do it "on the line" while assembling the taco, but have a dedicated person to do just the toppings "on the side" so you can add them yourself. service was friendly.

                4 Replies
                1. re: alkapal
                  s
                  Steve Nov 20, 2010 08:48 AM

                  Store bought tortillas can be very fresh. The ones I get at Shoppers Food Warehouse can still be warm in their package, have a nice aroma, and are made from fresh corn. If you puff them up in the pan at home, the result is very good.

                  Unless you grew up in Texas, a flour tortilla for a taco is a sad choice. I have not been to the strorefront yet, only the truck. The taco I had was ok, you can get a lot worse, but it was nothing particulalry interesting. I'll definitely go to the store to test the waters.

                  1. re: Steve
                    alkapal Nov 20, 2010 12:24 PM

                    yeah, i wasn't blown away, either. maybe i was expecting the moon! but i'd say it was OK. for the $11 i spent, i'd rather get drunken noodles down the street.

                    ~~~~~
                    it is just that when i see "carnitas," i get really hopeful that the meat will be the succulent cubes with the crispy-oily-caramelized exterior i know as carnitas. oh well, it's not to be, not here.

                    maybe that's what they had in the taco (one cube), but had pulled it apart into shreds. somehow, i doubt it. there were no caramelized edge bits (that really make me swoon).

                    i wonder if they'd ever morph into a mexican restaurant with more than just tacos and burritos and beans? (oh my!).

                    1. re: alkapal
                      m
                      MikeR Nov 21, 2010 07:16 AM

                      There was a woman sitting at a table next to me who was having multiple orgasms over her huevos rancheros. I overheard her say how wonderful it looked when she picked it up, and was grinning after every bite and expressed her enjoyment to the guy who came around asking if she enjoyed it.

                      I have a hunch that they aren't going to stray too far from tacos and burritos. That's what the production line looks like it's best suited for.

                      1. re: MikeR
                        alkapal Nov 21, 2010 07:23 AM

                        "i'll have what she's having."

                2. r
                  rappel75 May 16, 2011 06:44 AM

                  Went to the District Taco restaurant in Arlington for the first time yesterday. Very crowded but things ran smoothly. Try the Tacos al pastor. Delicious! They have Boylans soda on tap and a great fixings/salsa bar. Very family friendly but go at off hours to avoid the crowds. The best Mexican food in the area that I have tried.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rappel75
                    s
                    Steve May 16, 2011 07:33 AM

                    I was pleased the onetime I went, and I plan on checking it out again real soon.

                    I am even more pleased with the tacos from the Comida Latina food truck parked at the Food Star on the corner of George Mason and Columbia Pike. Beef and chicken are terrific and juicy. I am less enamored with the tongue. There is also my favorite shaved ice stand at the next space over. In addition to the toppings listed, they sometimes have a milk topping that you have to ask for. With all of them, they put a hot tamarind sauce on top - but ask about it if they don't add it. It's fantastic.

                    1. re: rappel75
                      alkapal May 16, 2011 11:45 AM

                      the fixings bar is generous, for sure. their offerings are limited, and i wished that they did a greater variety. i always love their guac! so fresh and tasty!

                    2. alkapal Sep 22, 2011 04:25 AM

                      i am happy to report that we still like district taco -- typically heading there on sunday mornings before church for some great pinto beans and breakfast tacos. and guac. always gotta get their guac.

                      by the way, their COFFEE (from some roaster in Alexandria) is better than ANYONE else's. try it, you'll like it. much better than bucky's. and even better (and more reasonable) than bayou bakery's. (plus bayou is not open as early as district taco on sunday).

                      ~~~~~~~
                      not related, but if you are in the area of district taco, you are near harris teeter, which is offering a much superior breakfast sandwich compared with mickey d's or dunkin' or that chesapeake bagel place there. $1.99 gets an oven-toasted bagel or croissant with egg, cheese and bacon or sausage to order. the nice efficient guy on the weekend in the deli is very good -- he'll give you bacon AND snausage. (as if i need it; but sometimes i gotta go for the grease! ;-). only problem is that the breakfast sandwich is not available until 7-8 a.m. (they're still deciding). it is actually available all day, but they may have to go grab some new croissants off the bakery shelf. (if they give you the deer in the headlights look, just ask them to go get more croissants. ;-). can you tell i'm thinking of breakfast?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: alkapal
                        m
                        MikeR Sep 22, 2011 05:45 AM

                        The coffee at District Taco is from M. E. Swing, probably the oldest coffee roaster in the area. http://www.swingscoffee.com/

                        1. re: MikeR
                          alkapal Sep 22, 2011 06:22 AM

                          thanks, mike, i'm going to go to their roastery.

                      2. s
                        Steve Sep 22, 2011 08:49 AM

                        District Taco has consistently been one of the better taco places around. It is great to have it in the 'hood. The default tortilla is flour, so you have to ask for a corn tortiila. There is no mention of this on their menu.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Steve
                          ktmoomau Sep 23, 2011 07:20 AM

                          I really love district taco. The corn tortillas are very good, I like the homemade chips and the salsa bar is fantastic. I think their carne asade tacos just have really really good flavor.

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