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lotus125

Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana - From the Owners of El Sol, Serving the Cuisine of Mexico City in Columbia Heights

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After reading a short blurb in the Washing Post, we decided to try Mezcalero, the new Columbia heights Mexican restaurant.  This one goes in the column of "easy to like, easy to be disappointed."  We started with a round of very disappointing cocktails.  For a place called Mezcalero, we had high hopes for the mezcal based cocktails on the list.  Both were so sweet that we could barely get other flavors.  Queso fundido was solid but undersalted.  The chile relleno was quite good.  We had many tacos including nopales (cactus paddles), mushrooms, salmon, and tilapia.  The tacos were solid but also undersalted.  Service was lackluster.  For a neighborhood place, this is reasonably priced and has some authentic options.  But it doesn't impress.  And it's a very different experience from something like Espita.

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On 2/10/2017 at 11:58 PM, lotus125 said:

After reading a short blurb in the Washing Post, we decided to try Mezcalero, the new Columbia heights Mexican restaurant.  This one goes in the column of "easy to like, easy to be disappointed."  We started with a round of very disappointing cocktails.  For a place called Mezcalero, we had high hopes for the mezcal based cocktails on the list.  Both were so sweet that we could barely get other flavors.  Queso fundido was solid but undersalted.  The chile relleno was quite good.  We had many tacos including nopales (cactus paddles), mushrooms, salmon, and tilapia.  The tacos were solid but also undersalted.  Service was lackluster.  For a neighborhood place, this is reasonably priced and has some authentic options.  But it doesn't impress.  And it's a very different experience from something like Espita.

I'm hesitant to write off Mezcalero just yet, given that Alfredo Solis and his sister Jennifer run El Sol, and that Alfredo used to be Chef de Cuisine at Fuego Cocina y Tequileria. Now, in all honesty, despite some people whose palates I respect having liked it, I was never a fan of Fuego at all - I felt like it was simply too big, was attempting to produce small-scale food on a massive scale, and that if there was any talent in the kitchen (which there was), that talent needed a smaller venue in order for me to recognize it. Those smaller venues have arrived in El Sol and Mezcalero, and given that the Solis siblings are most likely partial equity owners, there is every reason to believe that Alfredo will be in overdrive. It worries me a little that they have two restaurants, and if they open a third, it will worry me a lot (think: District Taco, which has gone to hell in a handbasket), but Mexico City is in the family's blood and soul, and if they can stay focused (i.e., don't attempt to build an empire), the potential for greatness remains (think: Chaia, which every single person who thinks they know where the best tacos are in Washington, DC needs to try before making any proclamations - look at every single post in the Chaia thread). Anyway, I'd love to see some more reviews for both El Sol and Mezcalero.

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Today was my 2nd time visiting here, and again I had a very nice torta sandwich. Today was the cemitas sans ham - chicken milanese, mexican cheese, small slather of beans, avocado, and spicy chipolte (whole ones, not really a sauce). We also started with the mushroom queso fundido which is basically a big pile of melted cheese with a few sauteed onions served with nicely warmed mini tortilla. Tasty but nothing special unless you are a sucker for melted cheese.  The complimentary chips are good and so are the 3 salsas that come with it. Last time I had a fish taco that was decent. Overall, I think the food here is pretty good quality and it is a nice space if you are in this neck of the woods but I wouldn't make a special trip. I think I like the tacos better 2 doors down at Taqueria Habernero, but last time the service there was so slow. The comparison though is one of slight difference - not that noticeable overall. The inside of Mezcalero is nicer and less crowded and the menu is much larger.

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On 2/5/2019 at 4:44 PM, KeithA said:

Today was my 2nd time visiting here, and again I had a very nice torta sandwich. Today was the cemitas sans ham - chicken milanese, mexican cheese, small slather of beans, avocado, and spicy chipolte (whole ones, not really a sauce). We also started with the mushroom queso fundido which is basically a big pile of melted cheese with a few sauteed onions served with nicely warmed mini tortilla. Tasty but nothing special unless you are a sucker for melted cheese.  The complimentary chips are good and so are the 3 salsas that come with it. Last time I had a fish taco that was decent. Overall, I think the food here is pretty good quality and it is a nice space if you are in this neck of the woods but I wouldn't make a special trip. I think I like the tacos better 2 doors down at Taqueria Habernero, but last time the service there was so slow. The comparison though is one of slight difference - not that noticeable overall. The inside of Mezcalero is nicer and less crowded and the menu is much larger.

Last night stopped by for a quick dinner and had basically the same meal as last year. The cemitas torta without ham - great sandwich - crispy on the outside from grilling or panini pressing the bread and rich, multilayered flavors on the inside with a really nice fresh crunchy chicken milanese. Chips and salsas are still good. No queso this time but per my prior note I don't think I was missing anything. My friend had 3 tacos for his first time there and thought they were really good. I saw a lot of people getting plates of various kinds of fajitas that looked and smelled very good. This is nice strip with two of my favorite Mexican places in DC just a few doors apart.

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I live very close to here and eat here regularly.

Mezcalero was the source of Friday night's takeout dinner. Quite tasty. I had my usual enchiladas de mole, and L had his favorite chorizo ad shrimp quesadilla. Also margaritas. And they put a bag of the house made chips and little tubs of the salsas in too!

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