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Sep 30, 2012 12:06 PM

Report - District Taco

District Taco combines two of my favorite things: Tacos and The District. Sadly, the love affair ended there. DT offers burritos, but if it has "taco" in the restaurant's name, that's what I'm having. And the menu looked promising; the Al Pastor taco came with corn tortillas (crucial) and pineapple, as it should. I also tried the Carnitas, usually a good test of any taco joint.

I don't typically focus on the tortilla--it's either corn and good or flour and not--but DT's corn tortilla wasn't quite right. It tasted like the whole wheat version of the staple, a bit doughy and gritty. Odd. Strike two: the pork in the Al Pastor was dry and tough. The Carnitas pork was much better, moist and tender, but the taco didn't have much flavor, even with a dousing of two of DT's three salsas.

Those salsas deserve a few words. The "hot" was as advertised, and tasted and looked like the Chipotle version. The roasted tomato salsa, like the tortilla, was just a bit off. But the mild green salsa was excellent, tangy and bright. I literally ate some with a spoon after the tacos were gone. Next time I'll take more!

Last thing: District Taco serves breakfast tacos. That alone justifies its existence, and makes a return trip mandatory some weekend morning.

Has anyone else been to District Taco? And where else can I find breakfast tacos in DC? I know they are at Distrito Federal, but there must be other options.


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  1. The District Taco in Arlington is a valuable neighborhood spot.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Good to hear. What do you like there? The DC branch might just be working out some kinks.

      1. re: Steve

        Meh... I went there a number of times when my GF still lived in ARL. It wasn't bad, but I found virtually nothing that made it especially good. Actually, it was pretty cheap, so it had that going for it.

        1. re: The Big Crunch

          The barbacoa is the tastiest taco West of Glebe. Does not compare to Taqueria El Charrito Caminante. Yes, low cost is part of the neighborhood value.
          Better than most DC selections except for maybe some of the recent additions. I wouldn't make a special trip from outside the neighborhood.

          1. re: Steve

            El Charrito was so hit-or-miss that I just gave up. We went there 4-5 times and it was all over the map. We had some really good tacos, and we had some where there was literally no meat even included in the things.

            I used to go over to La Placita in Hyattsville when I still lived in MD, and there's just nothing I've had that compares in terms of price and taste.

            1. re: The Big Crunch

              The goat taco at TECC is consistently great. Once in a while I will supplement that with a chorizo taco which is consistent, though not great. The carne tacos at the food truck on the corner of George Mason Dr and Columbia Pike are consistently very good and worht a trip in the cold weather when he also offers atol de elote to drink.

              La Placita is very good, though I prefer the huaraches at El Costalilla in Alexandria, south on US 1.

          2. re: The Big Crunch

            the coffee is excellent at the arlington branch. locally roasted.

            their beans are good, and their green salsa. as to the tacos…meh.

            also, the guac is very good!

            don't get shrimp ceviche.

            1. re: alkapal

              Yeah, I'll agree about the coffee. It was tasty, and the guac was good, however, I'm sort've of the mindset that at this point, decent guac is so ubiquitous as to be a fairly unimpressive accomplishment at a Latin American restaurant.

              1. re: The Big Crunch

                one thing esp. i like about the guac is that it is still a little chunky. and you can tell it is really fresh.

                the only tex-mex place we eat at on any kind of regular basis -- uncle julios/rio grande in arlington-- has pretty good guac, as well, but it is much smoother (and i daresay, with more cumin). they also make a fine patrón margarita from scratch, and when the weather is fine, it is good to sit outdoors on their patio and watch the world go by. ;-)). the pinto beans side i think is better at rio grande -- and their fire-roasted tomato salsa, too.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Whole Foods makes a very pure, minimalist guacamole. Most restaurants add too much stuff for my taste.

                  1. re: Steve

                    I second WF guac. It really is excellent.

        2. I've been to District Taco, and I found it. . .adequate. I also had the al pastor, and mine wasn't overly dry. The pineapple relish rather than marinade was a little weird, but it won me over. Agreed on the tortillas - my theory is that they sit under a warmer, rather than spending a few seconds on the grill after ordering.

          Nothing really great, but not objectionable either. And a hell of a lot better than most 'Mexican' places I've been in the area.

          1. Agree about the tortillas, couldn't put my finger on it, but they were the main problem with the tacos at District Taco. Also I thought most of the meats were lacking flavor.

            For tacos in the District, El Chilango is the way to go, followed by Distrito Federal.

            1. I like the fish tacos on Fridays at DT in Arlington. But I like their regular tacos too. I normally eat their corn tortillas for all my tacos and have never had a strange tasting one, but they also aren't homemade.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ktmoomau

                yes, tortillas aren't made in-house. strange.

                rio grande/uncle julios has much better tortillas (albeit flour, so different than DT's corn). freshly made.

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  Cafe Rio has freshly made tortillas. They were really good and filled fresh off the griddle when the local branch (Willston) first opened, but in the last couple of months the tortillas have gone down hill. Maybe they're making larger batches and leaving them out too long.

                  I've found a few chain restaurants that do a good job when they're new and corporate people are there to get things set up and the first round of staff trained, but once they leave and training comes a few generations away from home base, things start to slide.

                  By the way, avoid the carnitas at Cafe Rio unless you're in the mood for dessert. It's absurdly sweet.

                2. I agree with your assessment of their corn tortilla. And since they do the typical double layering of the tortilla it made each bite of the al pastor even more dry. The best thing that i tried was their nachos topped with carnitas and guacamole. Thought it was a great value and worth making another trip for.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: shake N baik

                    shake N baik - good tip on the nachos. That's the sort of thing I would assume was an afterthought on the menu, nice to know it isn't. I'll check it out when I go back for breakfast tacos.


                    1. re: shake N baik

                      Heh, yeah, I forgot about the nachos - it was the best thing we had, but a bit gringo-fied.

                      1. re: mdpilam

                        haha they were indeed. Their menu online listed beer but I was disappointed that they weren't offering it.