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Jan 1, 2012 08:45 AM

Mama Chuy: the best sopes in the District

So a new Mexican place opened across from Howard University and it is delightful. The prices are low and they seem to take real pride in their food. We went there last Friday, where apparently they had been slammed with customers all day long after this article in the WaPo:

I sampled the guacamole, which was notably good (a bit chunky, lots of cilantro and lime); pico de gallo (good); carne asada tacos (eh, quite dry and not worth re-ordering); pastor tacos (yum, pineapple in the meat?); carnitas *sopes* (!) which were *awesome*; and chicken sope (eh, the chicken was not great). We also had some Modelos, which rounded off the meal quite nicely. The staff was absolutely charming and eager to explain everything on the menu. I will definitely return for the pork and the sopes, which I have not seen on any menus at the taco places here in the District.

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  1. Is the al pastor on a spit? Super Tacos near Adams Morgan had sopes on their menu, but they weren't really sopes, more like a round huarache. I'm very intrigued, and look forward to trying this place, as I've been woefully disappointed with Mexican in the District.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mdpilam

      I have no idea whether it was on a spit...frankly, the carnitas and pastor were good, but nowhere close to La Mexicana quality. So be forewarned. The sopes were real sopes, from what I could tell. Tasted a lot like La Mexicana's but much smaller (taco-sized)

    2. Went here last night, and came away with mixed emotions. I originally called to order delivery (because their website says: Delivery + Takeout), but was told they don't deliver. Fine. Then I checked the menu on the way over to figure out what I wanted, and when I arrived, I walked into the bottom level of an old rowhouse with a full table to the right and stairs ahead of me. I go up the stairs to find a few more small tables (one open) and a bathroom. No staff in site yet. Went back downstairs around the corner and after standing at the cash register for a minute, a cook sees me and tells me to find a table and he will send someone up. A little while later a server comes up and offers a menu, but I tell him that I am ready to order: sope de asada, quesadilla de pollo, taco de al pastor and taco de carnitas. After more wait, my food arrives, and everything is miniaturized. The quesadilla was a quartered version of what was about a 6" tortilla. The tacos (two per order) and sopes (two per order) were bite sized (ok, 2 bites). I had to ask for salsa (WTF?). The pollo wasn't very good tasting, but the al pastor was pretty good, but didn't seem like it was traditional al pastor (off a spit). The asada was bland, basically flavorless (but no gristle, which is good). The carnitas was not carnitas, but small cubes of pork. I hate when places say carnitas, but it really isn't. The pork was solid though. The salsa lacked spice (even though it was the "hot" one) too.

      Overall, the food was pretty good for mexican DC standards, but overpriced (standard for DC) - I had to eat another mini meal when I got home. Service was slow, but not bad. The weird thing is that my total came to $17.60, and I later figured it should have been ~$16, but then see later that they have two different menus (carry out and dine in) online and different prices, and that they must have charged me extra for the salsa. Are you kidding me?! You are going to charge me extra for salsa... at a TAQUERIA!?! Sorry, little things like these irritate me. I won't even get into the whole paying on the iPad thing.