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El Chilango - finally, a taqueria in DC that gets it right

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mdpilam Aug 23, 2012 09:16 AM

Finally made it to the new B&M of the (somewhat) famed Arlington taco truck, El Chilango just off of U St (V & 11th). I had been to their truck before, and thought it was a solid taco truck, but thought that the meats lacked character (not to mention they were out of a couple meats). The taqueria sticks with the basics that made them famous - tacos (asada, pollo, lengua, chorizo, al pastor and mixto, plus some vegetarian options to appease the vegetarian hipsters apparently).

I ordered one of each taco (sans the mixto - which I think is kind of weird, and the veg. ones). They were all good with the exception of the asada, which was surprisingly just average. The al pastor was good, though I didn't get to see if they actually have a spit. Pollo was also surprisingly good (I don't normally order pollo, but did it for "research sake" for my gf). The chorizo was pretty good, but it was a bit mushy. Salsas were good (they had a verde and rojo, whereas the time I went to their truck they only had a green), and the pickled onions w/ habanero added a nice spice.

All in all, this is DC's best taqueria. I was a little disappointed they raised their prices (from $2 to $2.50), but I guess that's DC rents, and it's on par with every other taqueria in DC (not counting the super-overpriced fou-fou wannabe taquerias). Still can't put it above La Mexicana or Tortilleria Sinaloa, but for the District, you can't really beat it.

Finally.

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    hamster RE: mdpilam Aug 27, 2012 06:23 PM

    I tried it tonight. Love the fact this place is 2 blocks from my apartment.

    I enjoyed the chorizo taco best, and found the asada kind of odd-tasting (actually, in the same way the asada I tried at La Costalilla was last week....must be the fat they cook it in or something?), and unfortunately found the al pastor to be subtly spiced but way too sweet (ie, they went a little overboard with the pineapple). I will definitely try the chicken and lengua and veggie options next visit. They were quite nice, and I was pleased that there was no line. There's also some nice seating in there (4 or 5 tables), which is cool. Not a lot in this fast-casual genre in the neighborhood, so I appreciate it.

    I will have to do a controlled comparison with Super Tacos on Columbia. I have to say the taco I ate there a couple weeks sort of blew my mind...I think it was al pastor. It was also huge. Perhaps not as much in the taco truck style.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hamster
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      shake N baik RE: hamster Aug 28, 2012 01:15 PM

      hamster - have you been to Izakaya Seki? During my hour long wait for Seki I got to the point where I had to eat something so dropped into Chilango and tried the al pastor and lengua. The al pastor was fine but I thought the lengua, although tender, lacked a lot of flavor.

      1. re: shake N baik
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        hamster RE: shake N baik Aug 28, 2012 07:08 PM

        Funny, I peeked in there when I went to El Chilango, and was surprised to see it looked almost empty! At 7:30 pm on a Monday night...I was surprised. I have not tried it yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

        1. re: hamster
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          windycity RE: hamster Aug 28, 2012 08:22 PM

          Haven't been to the brick & mortar but the truck has some of the better / authentic tacos in DC. It's all about the carnitas.

          1. re: windycity
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            hamster RE: windycity Aug 29, 2012 05:02 AM

            Unfortunately they don't have carnitas on the menu at the restaurant :(

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