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Buena Vida, Tex-Mex Small Plates from Ambar Owner Ivan Iricanin - Silver Spring and Clarendon

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On 4/30/2018 at 2:44 PM, ElGuapo said:

Tacos, Tortas & Tequila (TTT), and companion restaurant Buena Vida, will open this Friday, May 4, in the former 8407 space in Downtown Silver Spring:

"Tacos, Tortas, and Tequila, Buena Vida Restaurants To Open Friday" by Mike Diegel on sourceofthespring.com

I went here with my family. We ate at Buena Vida. The complimentary chips and salsa were excellent (tomatillo, some kind of smoked red salsa and picked veggies) were excellent. We had elote off the cob, a bunch of tacos and ceviche. Even the beans and rice which we ordered for the kids was great. My favorite tacos were the lengua and the duck carnitas. Service was okay, not the most attentive server.

---

Tacos, Tortas, & Tequila (ElGuapo)

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I'm going to Buena Vida for brunch tomorrow.

I neglected to post, but I went for lunch on their first day of service and greatly enjoyed myself. They were offering their unlimited small plates for like $12.50 or something absurdly cheap like that, which made it very easy to excuse the expected service hiccups. I don't remember a ton of details from May, but I remember enjoying the vast majority of the dishes we tried -- and my friend and I tried a LOT. I remember a corn dish that was a bit bland, but that was my only criticism when one of the manager types came by our table to ask for feedback. The guacamole with mango and goat cheese stands out in my memory as something I enjoyed. I also remember enjoying the chips and salsa that soapy mentioned above.

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The all you can eat small plates deal is now 35 and everyone at your table has to order it. So not that great a deal unless you are very hungry for tacos.

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Buena Vida and the other restaurant associated with it are going to open in February in Arlington across from Ambar

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On 1/22/2019 at 4:18 PM, DaveO said:

Buena Vida and the other restaurant associated with it are going to open in February in Arlington across from Ambar

Update:   They will open in Clarendon at 2900 Wilson Blvd in Mid March.

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Buena Vida (2nd floor of the La Tasca space) opened in Clarendon today.  The restaurant on the first floor, TTT, isn't open yet but soon.

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17 hours ago, cheezepowder said:

Buena Vida (2nd floor of the La Tasca space) opened in Clarendon today.  The restaurant on the first floor, TTT, isn't open yet but soon.

Did you stop by?   If so, what did you think?   I know I'll hit it up some day soon, just don't want to tie down a day. 

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On 3/19/2019 at 1:43 PM, DaveO said:

Did you stop by?   If so, what did you think?   I know I'll hit it up some day soon, just don't want to tie down a day. 

Yes.  It's amazing how they've transformed the La Tasca space.  

This Washingtonian article describes how the menu and background for the Clarendon location is different than the Silver Spring location.

I had a couple of dishes (there's a link to the dinner menu in the Washingtonian article).  I had the dry soup with three chiles which was fried vermicelli in ancho, guajillo and chipotle chiles with cheese, avocado, and cilantro, and I had the ribeye aguachile, which was a rare, sliced ribeye, served cold, with radish and onion and a light burnt chile sauce.  I enjoyed both dishes.  I also received chips and salsas and warm corn tortillas.

Very friendly staff, like the staff at Ambar/Baba Bar.

I forgot to add -- they're offering at 25% discount for the first two weeks for reservations made through their website (though they gave me the discount without a reservation).  Facebook post with offer

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On 3/19/2019 at 5:47 PM, cheezepowder said:

Yes.  It's amazing how they've transformed the La Tasca space.  

This Washingtonian article describes how the menu and background for the Clarendon location is different than the Silver Spring location.

I had a couple of dishes (there's a link to the dinner menu in the Washingtonian article).  I had the dry soup with three chiles which was fried vermicelli in ancho, guajillo and chipotle chiles with cheese, avocado, and cilantro, and I had the ribeye aguachile, which was a rare, sliced ribeye, served cold, with radish and onion and a light burnt chile sauce.  I enjoyed both dishes.  I also received chips and salsas and warm corn tortillas.

Very friendly staff, like the staff at Ambar.

Thank you.  Sounds great.  Interesting article describing dishes not normally seen here.  Looking forward to stopping by.  I think the Ambar team are excellent restaurateurs and some of that shows in the quality/friendliness of the staff.

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38 minutes ago, Genevieve said:

Looking forward to trying this soon! Sounds like a great place to have in the neighborhood.

Noticed that tonight TTT on the first floor is having a soft opening tonight 

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37 minutes ago, DaveO said:

Noticed that tonight TTT on the first floor is having a soft opening tonight 

ArlNow also has a post on today's opening. There's a separate TTT thread so will also add there.

 

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They have changed their menu significantly from when they opened I think to separate the two spaces, I have been to both several times since I live in the area. TTT is very loud and more casual.

Buena Vida is more of an upscale tapas type of place. I think they have this all-you-can-eat deal for $35 and all you can eat and drink for $50, but the catch is the entire table has to order the all-you-can-eat option. I went with a large group and we were told that we had to do the all-you-can-eat option which was not something my group wanted to do, and they were flexible about doing things ala carte and even gave us crab nachos and tequila on the house.

I went to Buena vida another time and had very incompetent service and the bathroom was backed up. We poliltely complained and they ended up comping our whole meal.

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On 3/19/2019 at 5:47 PM, cheezepowder said:

Yes.  It's amazing how they've transformed the La Tasca space.  

This Washingtonian article describes how the menu and background for the Clarendon location is different than the Silver Spring location.

I had a couple of dishes (there's a link to the dinner menu in the Washingtonian article).  I had the dry soup with three chiles which was fried vermicelli in ancho, guajillo and chipotle chiles with cheese, avocado, and cilantro, and I had the ribeye aguachile, which was a rare, sliced ribeye, served cold, with radish and onion and a light burnt chile sauce.  I enjoyed both dishes.  I also received chips and salsas and warm corn tortillas.

Very friendly staff, like the staff at Ambar/Baba Bar.

I forgot to add -- they're offering at 25% discount for the first two weeks for reservations made through their website (though they gave me the discount without a reservation).  Facebook post with offer

More on the gossip, didn't eat there variety of post:

With a 7:15 reservation at Ambar the other night I stopped in early to take a look at both Buena Vida and TTT.  Both are attractive.  At about 6:30 -7PM both were roughly half full.  While that left me surprised I suppose there is no reason why entirely new restaurants should be swamped.  In any case it was an encouraging sign to get over there now.  On the other hand well established Ambar was quite full.  Most tables were occupied.  The bar and tables by the bar were crowded;  There are great values on the HH menu.  I think during dinner the restaurant was fully occupied.  Dinner at Ambar was one more enjoyable time at the restaurant.  Quite enjoyed the small plate flat bread, a dish I don't recall ordering before. 

One thing, because Ambar, Buena Vida, and TTT all recruited bartenders from our school and I've had a little interaction with management and staff I fully suspect that service at Buena Vida and TTT will be terrific. Besides the school interaction at other times when I've been at Ambar in a more anonymous mode service has always been delightful.  I look forward to visiting TTT and Buena Vida.

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On 3/19/2019 at 5:47 PM, cheezepowder said:

Yes.  It's amazing how they've transformed the La Tasca space.  

This Washingtonian article describes how the menu and background for the Clarendon location is different than the Silver Spring location.

I had a couple of dishes (there's a link to the dinner menu in the Washingtonian article).  I had the dry soup with three chiles which was fried vermicelli in ancho, guajillo and chipotle chiles with cheese, avocado, and cilantro, and I had the ribeye aguachile, which was a rare, sliced ribeye, served cold, with radish and onion and a light burnt chile sauce.  I enjoyed both dishes.  I also received chips and salsas and warm corn tortillas.

Very friendly staff, like the staff at Ambar/Baba Bar.

I forgot to add -- they're offering at 25% discount for the first two weeks for reservations made through their website (though they gave me the discount without a reservation).  Facebook post with offer

Stopped by Buena vida as a single after a late night of work.  There was room at the bar so I popped in and went for the same two dishes ordered by cheezepowder .  One of the bartenders “warned me off” the ribeye as being very hot and spicy and I’m a wimp so I slid across the menu to the tartare dish.  Boy was that tasty.  Attractively spiced->excellent.  The dried soup is such a great looking dish, but it didn’t offer me enough taste.  OTOH with two or more I’d split it as an app.  Such a neat looking dish.  They have great chips with salsa.  Loved those.

Those management rats at Ambar/ BV/TTT comped me again, because we help them w/ staffing.  It’s too much for me.  OTOH I’ve had dinner on reservations at Ambar under different names so I get to happily pay also.

@cheezepowder I know they do a great job with training and they hire with a keen eye for personality type.  I strongly believe it’s one of the keys to their popularity.  BTW better known Ambar was packed on a Thursday evening.

A couple of folks had mains at the bar and they recommended them.   I’ll be back

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