ol_ironstomach Posted April 5, 2006 Share Posted April 5, 2006 Grabbed an early dinner at Picante, the Real Taco on our way back from DeBaggio Herbs a few days ago, after not having been for nearly a year. This was an infrequent favorite when I worked in Fairfax, and a frequent one when that employer moved out to Ashburn...just a few minutes down to their location at Rts 28 and 50. It's still a good, inexpensive Mexican restaurant, with a menu that avoids the usual chain Tex-Mex favorites in favor of more authentic flavors, particularly a liberal use of fruits in the various sauces. One thing that characterizes Picante is their adherence to Mexican cheeses, particularly Chihuahua cheese, where the big chains substitute bland jack cheese. The queso fundido con chorizo is a particular favorite of mine, which drips liberally with the spicy red oil of the chorizo when mashed with a fork and spread onto a corn tortilla. It's not a low-cal dish, and I was almost horrified to discover that the portion size has nearly doubled in the past several years. It's now really too much for even two people to eat. Similarly, the previously generous tacos have grown to ridiculous size...but the meat is better than ever. I had a combination of the taco adobo de puerco with the chicken mole enchilada and the pork now comes in small succulent chunks, whereas before it was sliced into tiny pieces which often came up a bit on the dry side. This is also where I came to love the pineapple and achiote seasoning of tacos al pastor, even if they don't use an autodoner system to roast it. The mole is still my favorite dish here, dark and rich over pieces of chicken breast. My +1 had the chile relleno, which incorporates apples into the sauce and stuffing, bringing a bit of sweetness. Again, the use of Chihuahua cheese was a vast improvement over the jack cheese commonly found in other rellenos. With the resurgence of good Mexican cuisine elsewhere in the area, it's not surprising that Picante hasn't made the Cheap Eats list in a while, but it's still worth a look if you need a bite near Chantilly (along with Thai Basil, elsewhere in the same strip mall). Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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