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Mission - Mexican in the Former One Lounge Space in North Dupont Circle

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This restaurant just opened up this week with high hopes, as the executive chef is from the acclaimed gas station taqueria in Elkridge, MD - R&R Taqueria. I absolutely, wholeheartedly love R&R - the devotion to food is incredible there.

It was packed at 730. It's the former One Lounge in DuPont Circle and they did a fantastic job with the space. There is red tiled floors, beautiful wood ceilings, exposed brick, a nice bar.

Something is different recently in terms of service in this town. Maybe it's a re-expression of what is important in a dining experience, or that people are just nicer, or social media is forcing customer service to be better. In any case, in the District itself, I find myself pleasantly surprised with service.

We were told 45 min, and were called back in about 35 for our table for two. I know it's different with these higher end places, but there are not chips and salsa served with the meal - it's 4 bucks a pop. And since a few Yelp reviews stated that the salsa tasted canned and not fresh, I didn't order it. We got the queso fundido and the pozole to start. The queso was not melty goodness. It was silly putty consistency and not tasty. It was too hard to eat - you had to hand pull it to get it onto the tortillas served aside it. The pozole was tasty, fresh with cilantro and spice, but ... served cool! I mentioned it to the waiter, and he said he would tell it to the kitchen.

We ordered two plates of tacos. We had the chorizo and the fish. The chorizo was almost as good as the R&R version, but a little different. Only one tortilla instead of two (I don't know why that matters, but it does to me). I don't know if it was masa, but it did taste good. The green sauce they gave with it had a bite, I liked it. The fish tacos were lightly fried and had a nice sauce, the typical white sauce of west coast fish tacos mixed with seasoning so it was brownish and tasty, but heavy feeling. Salsa was a few bucks extra, we ordered it, but they forgot. We didn't mention it. The kitchen was very slow, and the server came more than once to tell us how backed up they were.

I'm very sad that this place didn't kill it. R&R is so amazing. The idea that they were going to have a real restaurant 25 minutes from me was so exciting. They don't have the Barbacoa, or the lamb stews. I saw fajitas at the table next to me that smelled and looked delicious. It was sceney- lots of pretty folks here. Nice service.

Out of respect of the original location, I'll go back, but not for a few months.

One question - does executive chef mean something unique? Does it mean his ideas but he isn't there? Because then it maybe explains away the food/execution.


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This restaurant just opened up this week with high hopes, as the executive chef is from the acclaimed gas station taqueria in Elkridge, MD - R&R Taqueria. I absolutely, wholeheartedly love R&R - the devotion to food is incredible there.

I've always thought there was something a little bit ... "odd" about a taqueria chef from Elkridge "overseeing" a kitchen in Dupont Circle - the driving time alone makes this prohibitive if not impossible.

"Highly Anticipated Mission Tacos Arrive In Dupont Next Week" by Fritz Hahn on washingtonpost.com said, "In a city full of buzzy taquerias, Mission may be home to the most anticipated tacos in Washington. The reason is chef Rodrigo Albarran of R&R Taqueria in Elkridge."

I was scooped on this one because I hadn't been anticipating these, or any other tacos, at all. *Chef* Rodrigo Albarran? Does this mean he'll be running the kitchen?

"Mission Mexican Restaurant Opening In Dupont" by Jessica Sidman on washingtoncitypaper.com said, "No need to drive out to a gas station in Elkridge, Md., or a strip-mall in Perry Hall, Md., to sample the sought-after tacos from R&R Taqueria. The taco shop's chef and owner Rodrigo Albarran will oversee the menu at Dupont Circle's new Mexican restaurant, Mission, which officially opens tomorrow ... The chef will continue to operate his R&R locations, spending time there in the mornings and then heading to Mission in the evenings." 

That is one hell of a lifestyle for this poor man. How on earth did this arrangement get set up? Has anyone looked into this, or even questioned it? Or even raised an eyebrow?

Look at this: post-2-0-56824100-1422136140_thumb.png

But what does a food-service company, founded in 1895, with 2,200 employees, and an annual revenue of $500 million dollars have to do with anything?

Well, maybe nothing. But, what about this? post-2-0-69495200-1422136374_thumb.png

I don't know - there's no mention in any press releases or the media about this, so it's probably unrelated.

"5 Things To Look For At Mission" by Anna Spiegel on washingtonian.com

Make it 6:


Here's a Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith called "Printer's Devil" in which he seems to be reporting the news *before it happens*.

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This is a response from one of the owners I got 9 months ago:

Reed L: Hi Simul,

Thanks for coming to Mission and for posting the thoughtful review. You brought up a number of good points and issues, all of which I've either discussed with my partner or incorporated into our menu/service plan.

First off, the service was clearly not at the level at which it needs to be on the night you visited. It has gotten markedly better over the past four weeks, but to be honest I expect it may be a couple more before it gets to the level where we want it to be. Getting the kitchen fully acclimated to the menu and weeding out the ineffective waitstaff takes a bit of time.

The salsa is now complimentary. We made the wrong call on that and changed course.

I share your affinity for R&R, and we've been editing the menu in a way that's focusing more on the R&R bread and butter items.

To answer your question about the meaning of Executive Chef, Rodrigo (the proprietor of R&R) designed the menu, has made numerous edits over the past month, and is generally running the show in the kitchen 5-6 nights per week. He's very committed to Mission and shares our desire to improve.

Thanks again for giving us a shot, and we hope you'll do it again soon. As a gesture of appreciation for sharing your feedback the next time you come in the first round of drinks for your table will be on the house. If you take us up on this, please email me (reed@missiondupont.com) so I can make sure you're accommodated.


Reed Landry


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A week or so ago my family and I made the mistake of wandering around Dupont Circle at dinnertime, very cold and looking for somewhere to eat. We looked in at Mission and found it jam-packed with an hour's wait. I was dumbfounded because I think of that particular location as being a death-zone for restaurants, but I asked the nice person at the host stand and they said that the place had been open for a couple of years.

So tonight I decided that we would check it out, and made a reservation. I guess I thought that if it was that crowded in that location it must be very good.

Sometimes I think dumb things.

Very very pleasant staff.  Very very busy.  Not overly expensive, as compared to other places where one can sit down, order, and eat in the area.

Everybody ended up getting a 3-taco platter, because on Tuesday night that comes with a free shot of tequila

The tortillas themselves were somewhat better than just good. Everything else was just ok. Nothing was bad-bad except for the red salsa.

Someday I will learn, once and for all, not to go to restaurants in Dupont Circle any more.

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On 12/20/2016 at 11:35 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Actually, there's no good Mexican food in the DC metro area.  There're some decent taquerias, but nothing that I would call good.

Have you been to El Sol, between Logan Circle and the Convention Center? I'm beyond miles away from being any type of Mexican food expert, but they have some delicious meals in addition to their outstanding tacos.

ETA: Sorry, I'm a dummy - someone else already asked you this. (I review posts from oldest to newest and hadn't yet seen that they asked you the exact same thing...my fault.) [Don't worry about it - you committed no crime! Rocks]

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