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Tonight, I got an evite to a party. That party invited us all to a Tex-Mex restaurant that this individual said was the best in DC. I tend to not be as big of a fan of this restaurant, and I decided I needed a neutral set of evaluators to determine as to whether that individual was correct.

As of now, I will leave the name of the restaurant out of it, and if it is brought up in a response to this thread I will let you know what it is. And if it is the first response to this thread you will get a VERY rare prize -- you will see me eat crow. Seriously. And I might give you a cookie.

And the other 8 million dollar question? How would I spice crow?

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Tonight, I got an evite to a party. That party invited us all to a Tex-Mex restaurant that this individual said was the best in DC. I tend to not be as big of a fan of this restaurant, and I decided I needed a neutral set of evaluators to determine as to whether that individual was correct.

As of now, I will leave the name of the restaurant out of it, and if it is brought up in a response to this thread I will let you know what it is. And if it is the first response to this thread you will get a VERY rare prize -- you will see me eat crow. Seriously. And I might give you a cookie.

And the other 8 million dollar question? How would I spice crow?

Is it in the city proper? If so, saying it is the best Tex-Mex is not saying much so I wouldn't worry. :unsure:

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My wife, who is from Austin, and lived in Mexico for a summer, actually does like Austin Grill.

She does not like: On the Border (crap), Rosa Mexicano (fair, but way too expensive), Lauriol Plaza (REALLY crap), Taqueria el Poblano (too many ingredients in simple dishes, and not as cheap as it should be). Andale is good, but expensive. She likes the various Salvadorean places in the area (Los Chorros in Wheaton, Samantha's in Silver Spring, and Ay Jalisco in Gaithersburg), but for Salvadorean, not for Tex-Mex. In Little Mexico, she prefers El Tapatio to La Sirenita, but will eat at either place happily. But that's really not Tex-Mex.

And, as a side note, she says the guys at Capital Q have no clue what BBQ is. But the guys at Hard Times do a decent job with chili - at least the beans are optional, though the addition of spaghetti is perplexing.

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I am going to use my Sherlock Holems like abilities to deduce the following. Not necessarily in the city, not in the long list (cheater) that Daniel K posted. Nice enough to have a party there, so probably not a hole in the wall.

Is it possibly the bar at Ray's the Steaks?

Er, I mean Guajillo?

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And the other 8 million dollar question? How would I spice crow?

I recommend stuffing the crow with cloves, curry leaves, cracked peppercorns, nutmeg, bacon*, gummi bears, and fifteen feet of detcord. Excess may be wrapped around exterior and tented with foil. Lightly abrade the bird with a Buick before igniting. I mean serving.

* because everything goes better with bacon

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Rio Grande is also known as Uncle Julio's in Dallas where the Dallas Morning News gives it three stars and ranks it only a half star below its highest Tex Mex rating. (Ciudad, a true Mexican restaurant, has the highest rating. On a visit several weeks ago it was indeed, outstanding.) After twenty + years here the one hour plus lines on weekends and full rooms on weeknights speak for themselves as to this restaurant's local popularity.

Twenty or so years ago when Austin Grill first opened near Wisconsin and Calvert it WAS D. C.'s best. I think that today that success has been diluted with numerous outposts, none of which live up to the original from then. Or Anita's first funky Vienna location in a former Donut Dinette from the early '70's or Speedy Gonzalez from the same era in a frame house near Red Top Cab on N. Hudson street in Arlington.

Guajillo is the D. C. area's current best Tex Mex restaurant and it is NOT the bar for Ray's. Frankly it incenses me whenever I see this on this board. I am certain that the owner of Guajillo has a LOT of difficulty with being talked about like this on here and probably has serious issues with this kind of disparagement-which referring to it as "Ray's bar" really IS. They've put a lot of effort into their restaurant and it is every bit as good as Ray's in its own way. It might be appropriate for a few on here to try having dinner there instead of just using it as a "holding area." I am certain that Guajillo is every bit as popular and successful as Ray's.

Taqueria Poblano is also very good in both locations but overall I believe Guajillo is better.

I am not a fan of the "homestyle" Riverdale places often raved about by Kliman although I would nominate La Serenita as having the loudest jukebox of any joint I have ever been in. This, by the way, can really detract from otherwise very good (but not exceptional) dishes.

Edited by Joe H
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Guajillo is the D. C. area's current best Tex Mex restaurant and it is NOT the bar for Ray's. Frankly it incenses me whenever I see this on this board.

If Guajillo is the areas best Tex-Mex then that is a sad statement as I have never had a decent meal there.

The Ray's bar comment was a joke. It does not make Michael happy either.

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Guajillo is the D. C. area's current best Tex Mex restaurant and it is NOT the bar for Ray's. Frankly it incenses me whenever I see this on this board. I am certain that the owner of Guajillo has a LOT of difficulty with being talked about like this on here and probably has serious issues with this kind of disparagement-which referring to it as "Ray's bar" really IS. They've put a lot of effort into their restaurant and it is every bit as good as Ray's in its own way. It might be appropriate for a few on here to try having dinner there instead of just using it as a "holding area." I am certain that Guajillo is every bit as popular and successful as Ray's.

Let me get this straight. I nominate Guajillo as the answer to "best Tex-Mex in the region" and you get upset on the owner's behalf because of an inside joke that I included only because of the brou-ha-ha the last time the subject came up. Seriously?

I've been to Guajillo a few times - it's OK, although I would put Andale and Rio Grande above it myself. I know it really isn't the bar at Ray's. In fact I've never been there before going to Ray's.

Tell me another situation where two good restaurants like that share the SAME FRONT DOOR.

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Rio Grande was the locale of choice. We used to go weekly about two or three years ago for margaritas and lunch with a large group. However, we went once with poor service (as in, dropping guacamole on a guest and leaving the guest to mainly clean it up) and a set of too-rare fajitas that made us change our rotation. But we have a friend who just loves it (as we did) and I wanted to see if there was anything better out there.

It is great to hear that Guajillos is on or at a similar level - we used to live right next door to Guajillo (in the condos, not in Greenberry's or Rays the Steaks) and would eat there occasionally. Since I'm a margarita freak, my memories of the food are a little fuzzy. But it is good to hear that they're doing well.

After reading over the list, I think one of two things of Tex-Mex in DC -- either DC doesn't have a lot of good Tex-Mex or I just don't actually like Tex-Mex.

Kate

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I'll throw the La Lomitas out there for discussion along with Anita's and El Paso Cafe. I should preface that when I think of Tex-Mex, I think of cheese ladden enchiladas, big as your head burritos, home made tortilla chips and the euphora that goes with a carbohydrate binge. These are the places I visit but don't necessarily take company with me, but most of my company is visiting from South Texas and are interested in having sushi or Ethiopian food.

It's been awhile since I went to El Paso Cafe, but I'd rank it as a typical San Antonio Tex-Mex restaurant. It's tucked away on N. Pershing Street in Ballston. It's the type of food that brought San Antonio to the top 3 on the nation's most obese cities list and is South Texas in so many ways. The decor is pretty funny with random sombraros and other such kitchy things. A warning for the mariachi haters, they do show up on occasion but they aren't as aggressive as the ones at Oyamel. Again, it's been awhile since I visited but I remember it being pretty good. The food is heavy and filling. The enchilidas stand out in my mind as classic San Antonio- meat, sauce and cheese with a side of rice and refried beans. The various fajitas were delicious. I think we ordered a different type each time we visited. Unless they've tweaked their recipe I'd avoid the frozen margarita and order one on the rocks (my preference anyway.) It's not fine dining nor is it very complex. For me it's definitely comfort food cheesy decorations and all.

Anita's I like for breakfast. They have a pretty good Platos Cubano and is just so convinient for the Fairfax/Vienna crew. If only they made migas, I'd be there more frequently.

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Taqueria Poblano is also very good in both locations but overall I believe Guajillo is better.

Several years later, I'd still agree with Joe that Guajillo is a notch up from Taqueria Poblano. Arlington residents (and soon, DC residents) now have District Taco thrown into the mix. For logistical reasons, I've been to District Taco several times, and can't say I love it at all - for my tastes, Taqueria Poblano is a distinct step up in this category. My ingredients at District Taco, both in the tacos and burritos, have been poorly seasoned and often dry, and I end up ladling salsas on primarily to add moisture. Nevertheless, District Taco was very astute in cornering the breakfast market because Taqueria Poblano doesn't open for breakfast at all, and its only real sit-down competition in the area is Linda's (not much competition).

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