Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rosa Mexicano Food Review

Pelona Steak Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries

It takes a brave man to order a sandwich at Rosa Mexicano. Brave, because settling for a torta (sandwich) after scouring the impressive lunch menu at the upscale, modern Mexican eatery seems like an "easy out" for diners who feel less-adventurous. Actually, there's nothing safe about ordering Rosa Mexicano's Mexican Club or Pelona... two sandwiches bursting with flavor, not to mention super-affordable ($12 and $13 respectively.) I braved the snow this afternoon, and had the latter with Sweet Potato Fries. The result? Heavenly bliss.

Pelona means bald in Spanish... something to do with frying the bread until the top is bare (like a bald head?) It also means "delicioso" where I come from... Delicate, pulled beef short rib on a crispy roll, packed with baked tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, salsa verde and pasilla de Oaxaca dressing. Pickled onions on the side, with some of the best sweet potato fries I've had in ages. All this for 13 bucks!

Chips & Salsa

But I'm ahead of myself. Let's circle back to the starting line... my first visit to this location since it used to be Bambulé (one of my favorite tapas restaurants, now closed.) My first words to the host? "I love what you've done with the place," or words to that effect. Seriously though, the room is absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous hardwood floors, bright table settings, vibrant colors all around, and a slick bar in the middle of it all. Talk about generous spacing!

Service is quick and attentive (granted, it was snowing hard, and there weren't many people here) but within a couple of minutes, we had drinks, chips & two types of salsa. Our server didn't flinch, when we asked for one sandwich without jalapeños and Oaxaca dressing: "No problem. I'll get that for you right away." Great answer. I prefer salsa with some texture to it; but the hotter of the two had plenty o' heat, and tasted delicious. Chips were incredibly fresh and not salty (score) and were refilled instantly, once empty.

Beautiful Interior

On to the sandwich, which is truly out of this world. I love crusty bread; and ciabatta makes a perfect choice to hold the Pelona's bountiful stuffing together. Multiple flavors give your tastebuds a workout; but outside of some hot jalapeños, it's nothing you can't handle. I loved it: So much so, that I found myself putting loose ends back inside (it gets a bit messy) in order to savor each morsel. Sweet potato fries were crispy and perfectly cooked, with visible salt. The pickled onions are addictive too... There wasn't a crumb left on my plate.

Service was stellar, and the ambiance sublime. Privacy seems to be encouraged; but the table banquettes are rather short, allowing for each table to see the other. Of course, I was way too busy enjoying my lunch to notice. The Chevy Chase location is smaller and a lot less pretentious than its grander Penn Quarter sibling... two qualities I favor in a big way. I can hardly wait to "shed my inhibitions," and order a full-on dinner... or brunch - Huevos Fritos y Carnitas (Yum.) Buen Provecho!