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El Tapatio, Mexican in Riverdale


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El Tapatio, one of Riverdale's Little Mexico restaurants, opened a Gaithersburg location on Oct 19th. The owner's son, Roberto, said their original location had customers from Montgomery County and his family is trying this additional location out "for a while."

I haven't seen many customers at the new location and even though they have an industrial-sized jukebox it's been silent during my visits. This restaurant doesn't have beer/wine yet and are breaking in new FOH staff, but that's what happens with most new places. The food is the same as their original location. The Caldos are large steaming bowls of soup that are very popular in Texas, even during 100+ degree summers, and great for our first cold days of fall.

They're in Gaithersburg, three blocks north of the intersection of Rt 355 and Shady Grove Road (a block north of New Fortune) and open from 10 to 10 everyday.

El Tapatio 2

615 South Frederick Ave (Rt 355) - Gaithersburg, MD

301-208-2607 (may not be connected yet)

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El_Tapatio_Menu_Oct2007.pdf

[[ I realize the menu is scanned upside down - I'll fix in the AM ]]

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:blink:

I just turned my lap top upside down.

Thanks for the heads up, I'm going down there today and I'll give it a shot. Mexican is just about my favourite. No, maybe Indian. No, maybe Italian. Eh, today I guess it's Mexican.

:P

Cheers

quote name='Lydia R' date='Oct 30 2007, 10:45 PM' post='92875']

[[ I realize the menu is scanned upside down - I'll fix in the AM ]]

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I went here to grab some quick lunch today and while not quite up to the same level as the original, this location is definitely worth going to for more authentic mexican than many other restaurants in the MoCo area that make the same claim. Being a quick lunch, I only tried a few of their offerings.

Their Tacos al Pastor were quite tasty, with the pork chopped into fine pieces with a medium amount of flavor from the marinade, and the tortillas are a notch above the typical store-bought tortillas(ie: plastic) every other "Mexican" restaurant uses. The goat taco(Tacos de Birria) was ok, with "large" chunks of meat, but lacking in flavor(which does let the goat taste come through very clearly though), and for which the included sauces came in handy to spice it up. The Carnitas(beef) taco was also ok, but again larger chunks of beef than appropriate and also lacking the flavor punch of the Pastor tacos. Both sauces which they included for the tacos seem to be made in house, with very enjoyable flavors without a large amount of heat. In summary, these were a cut above the tacos served at Pepito's Bakery and Taqueria in oldtown G'burg and will hopefully improve as they settle into the new location.

I also sampled two of their Tortas(sandwiches). Their sandwiches are great deals, as each is about $6 and includes a sandwich and fries, making it a good lunch portion on its own. The Torta De Chorizo was tasty, with a nice portion of crumbled mexican-style chorizo(much less spiced than Spanish chorizo), along with lettuce, tomato and a slice of avocado, which was a nice touch. The Torta de Milanesa de Pollo was also nicely put together, albeit a bit bland and requiring the addition of lime and sauces to enhance its overall flavor. Both used a nice sandwich roll, although its not the typical Mexican bolillo bread they're made with in Guadalajara.

All in all, a good start for their new location, and one I'll be going back to for dinner at some point to try their heartier entrees, like mole and chilaquiles.

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Welcome, angelo. Great first post!

I look forward to getting to El Tapatio soon. The Riverdale location is my regular stop on the way to DC United games, and having a location only 10-15 minutes from my house will be a great addition to my regular "rotation" of quick dinners out with the family.

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That was great...Gubeen and I were in the area at dinnertime and stopped in for what turned out to be the best authentic Mexican food we've had in MoCo. El Tapatio 2 is located, I believe, in what was formerly Bread & Kabob's Gaithersburg location. The space is tidy and simple, with a thick red-on-red paint job covering the brick walls, and looking nothing like the hole-in-the-wall that is the original Riverdale location. You won't find, for instance, photographs of the dishes ringing the ceiling.

I had the carnitas platter and a taco al pastor on the side; she went directly for her benchmark chiles rellenos, and a tamale. As Angelo did, I found the al pastor to be very tasty, and the corn tortillas were a cut above the usual rubbery variety. Moreover, they had a great texture for their size, with an crisp exterior but not bone-dry on the interior. I'd rate these higher than the ones from Picante in Chantilly. The carnitas were delicious, although different than what I've had in California - served not as random chunks but as thick slices of what I assume is the loin, with a great pork flavor. Browned but not crisped on the exterior, but still slightly moist on the interior. Gubeen's chiles were slow to develop heat, but were textbook - proper cheese, batter not too thick, and left to sit for a while in a delicious tomato-based sauce. The tamale was somewhat on the big side but terrific - a combination of cornmeal, sweet corn kernels, and I don't know what else, not as dense as the usual "clay bricks" you find around here, and almost good enough to pass for dessert.

The other thing that set ET2 apart was that the accompaniments were outstanding...except perhaps the rice, which was just okay, and Gubeen thought the beans could have used a bit less lard. The pico de gallo that came with the carnitas was very fresh and perky, with a good dose of lime and a judicious amount of fresh cilantro - I like the flavor, but not when it's heaped on. Not much to say about the avocado, except that it was ripe and well-chosen. The blended salsas accompanying both the chips and the tacos were delicious and spicy, although the chips themselves were oily.

Total for this extravaganza, with a coupla sodas, was right around $40 including a generous tip. Go forth and eat!

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Went tonight with the family. The summary up top: without a doubt, the best Mexican cooking in MoCo, by a long, long mile.

First of all, nobody previously mentioned that the chips and salsa are clearly homemade, and very good (though we did get a couple of greasy chips.) We started with a couple of tamales and guacamole. As ol_ironstomach noted, the tamales are probably twice the size as other places, but they are some of the best tamales I have ever eaten. Slightly sweet, tasting very strongly of corn, and just enough pork so you know it's there.

My son had the Burrito de Res, which was the size of his head. And it was also gone from the plate in 5 minutes - I barely had time for a taste before he inhaled it. The bite I got was pretty good.

My daughter just had beans, rice, and tortillas. I thought the beans were terriffic, but the rice was boring - just plain white rice. Tortillas, as previously noted, were very good.

My wife and I just got tacos - we each got one birria (goat) one carnitas (pork) and one lengua (beef tongue). The lengua was good, especially with some salsa verde, as was the pork (not enough crispy bits), but the birria was pure bliss. Smoky, tender, and tasting like GOAT. You can get a plate of "birria de Chivo", basically goat fajitas, and there is no doubt that this will be my order next time.

All of that food, and a generous tip, was $50, and there were leftovers. The place was empty at 7:45pm, and a single table came in while we were there for takeout. I hope they don't stay undiscovered.

10% off coupons on their website, and 15% off coupons given to you with your check. Go!

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Sounds like a $20 dollar Tuesday. Would people show up to a Gaithersburg location?

More like a $10 Tuesday! And since they're a block from I-370, it could actually be a quicker trip then downtown Rockville for people from DC or NoVa.

Maybe a RPLC location?

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I hate to begin the New Year on a sour note, but I had an awful lunch today at the Riverdale El Tapatio. There's no need to order chilaquiles with El Tapatio's hangover-killing portion of Huevos Rancheros ($7.99), which was so large that the two hard eggs could have been removed from the dish without changing its basic character. Filled with crispy tortillas, thick salsa, and long strips of onion and green pepper, the best thing about this sodium-ridden monster might be the lardy beans. A Quesadilla de Queso ($3.00, on the menu for $2.50) weighed at least a pound, and could have been great had it not been for the abundant queso blanco which was completely ammoniated - to the point where I still cannot get the smell of it off me - and rendered the dish inedible. The entire quesadilla, except for the first few nibbles, was thrown out, along with [insert New Year's guilt here] a beachball-sized handful of carryout plastic and styrofoam.

Breaking my resolutions so you don't have to break yours,

Rocks.

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Tried going to the Gaithersburg location for lunch yesterday, the outside signs are still up, but it's turned (is turning) into a Peruvian restaurant. The lomo saltado was perfectly fine and the menu promises chicken soon.

Ignacio

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Tried going to the Gaithersburg location for lunch yesterday, the outside signs are still up, but it's turned (is turning) into a Peruvian restaurant. The lomo saltado was perfectly fine and the menu promises chicken soon.

Ignacio

I'm not surprised. They did say they were going to try this location "for a while", and whenever we went, we were frequently the only ones there. Supposedly they did a pretty good lunch business, but I guess not enough to keep them going.

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I'm not surprised. They did say they were going to try this location "for a while", and whenever we went, we were frequently the only ones there. Supposedly they did a pretty good lunch business, but I guess not enough to keep them going.
I never saw much of a lunch crowd when I went and I never enjoyed the food much though I kept ordering different things, hoping I was just not getting the right stuff.
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THANK YOU for this voice of sanity. I'm a transplanted L.A. girl, and have been yearning for great Mexican food and have only found it once or twice in the 13 years I've been in Washington. So it was with great joy and anticipation that I ventured over to El Tapatio #1 recently with a couple others, including another California transplant who adores Mexican.

To say it was a disappointment would be an understatement.

Steak tacos were overly salty. My chicken mole was far too sweet, and the refried beans that accompanied it were watery and bland. Our companion's enchiladas were completely forgettable. And the music from the jukebox was so ear splittingly loud that we couldn't talk to one another, and the eyes of 6-month-old baby with us doubled in size, looked terrified, and stayed that way til we mercifully rolled him outta there after an hour. And I'm not an old fogey who wants only soft dentist-office music. I love good feisty music. But this was out of control.

Lousy food. Lousy experience. What a disappointment.

cg

I hate to begin the New Year on a sour note, but I had an awful lunch today at the Riverdale El Tapatio. There's no need to order chilaquiles with El Tapatio's hangover-killing portion of Huevos Rancheros ($7.99), which was so large that the two hard eggs could have been removed from the dish without changing its basic character. Filled with crispy tortillas, thick salsa, and long strips of onion and green pepper, the best thing about this sodium-ridden monster might be the lardy beans. A Quesadilla de Queso ($3.00, on the menu for $2.50) weighed at least a pound, and could have been great had it not been for the abundant queso blanco which was completely ammoniated - to the point where I still cannot get the smell of it off me - and rendered the dish inedible. The entire quesadilla, except for the first few nibbles, was thrown out, along with [insert New Year's guilt here] a beachball-sized handful of carryout plastic and styrofoam.

Breaking my resolutions so you don't have to break yours,

Rocks.

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THANK YOU for this voice of sanity. I'm a transplanted L.A. girl, and have been yearning for great Mexican food and have only found it once or twice in the 13 years I've been in Washington. So it was with great joy and anticipation that I ventured over to El Tapatio #1 recently with a couple others, including another California transplant who adores Mexican.

To say it was a disappointment would be an understatement.

Steak tacos were overly salty. My chicken mole was far too sweet, and the refried beans that accompanied it were watery and bland. Our companion's enchiladas were completely forgettable. And the music from the jukebox was so ear splittingly loud that we couldn't talk to one another, and the eyes of 6-month-old baby with us doubled in size, looked terrified, and stayed that way til we mercifully rolled him outta there after an hour. And I'm not an old fogey who wants only soft dentist-office music. I love good feisty music. But this was out of control.

Lousy food. Lousy experience. What a disappointment.

word. save up and go to Oyamel. Guajillo, though wildly inconsistent, can be good if you order carefully: chicken is almost always overcooked, but their molé is decent.

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word. save up and go to Oyamel. Guajillo, though wildly inconsistent, can be good if you order carefully: chicken is almost always overcooked, but their molé is decent.

hi. yeah, guajillo is one of the few places i've had decent mexican since i've been here. also Cafe Tacuba in Germantown. and I do love Taqueria Nacionale down near Union Statton. I'll take your Oyamel recommendation to heart. thanks. :-)

cg

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A few weeks ago, I also had a bad meal at El Tapatio, and have scratched it off the list of pre-DC United game dining.

However, we're still having luck at La Sirenita a few blocks away. Sure, it's not as good as the average place in LA, and not in the same category as Oyamel (though it's WAAAAAY cheaper than Oyamel), but we've so far had pretty good meals there.

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