Saturday, May 17, 2014

Burrito Battles: District Taco

Chips and Salsa

It took me more than two years to actually order food at District Taco... Two years! Each time I tried to get inside their downtown location (1309 F Street, NW) I was turned off by extra long lines. It made no difference what time I stopped by... Before noon, late in the afternoon, even later at night: Always full. I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about; and until I tried it, I never would. Thank goodness for District Taco's fourth and newest location at 1919 M Street, NW. It took a late lunch (after 4:00 PM) but I finally got in; and I'm happy to report, it was worth the wait.

Perhaps not two years worth of waiting, but I certainly "get" why everyone goes crazy over District Taco. On the surface, it looks like any other taco joint. Foil wrapped burritos, tacos, chips & salsa... Nothing you haven't seen before. Where DT wins you over, is in the details. Starting with customer service.

Pollo Asado Burrito

A friendly cashier took my order for a $7 Burrito with rice, pico de gallo and jalapeƱos (no beans) a regular soda ($2.25) and Chips & Salsa ($4.) From there, it's on to the salsa bar - where you can mix & match to your heart's content. Wait times for all orders are minimal, and I especially dig the Boylan fountain sodas (top notch!) Food is brought straight to your table, and the runners are extra nice.

As you'd expect from a brand new location, the space is super clean (but far from fussy.) You're meant to feel comfortable here (I did) and it follows a fine lead from former tenant Cosi: Definitely one of the nicer fast-casual spaces in town. I watched three female employees work every corner of the room, making sure everything was in tip-top shape. Bravo!

In regards to the food...

Burritos are very good, just a notch below Boloco and Chipotle. You can really taste the vibrantly fresh pico de gallo; and the jalapeƱos are top notch, providing a great crunch to the mix. My only complaint? I wish there had been a little more chicken; but overall, as solid as they come. The big difference maker here is the Chips & Salsa. Chips come in a brown paper bag, reminiscent of Chipotle; but these chips taste nothing like the competition. They're beyond fabulous. Ditto for the spiciest, zestiest salsa you'll find at this price level (#2 overall, behind Agua 301 at any price point.) Don't be surprised if I make a habit of picking up a take-away order every week. I practically had tears in my eyes, as I devoured my first batch... That's how spicy the salsa was (love it!)

In order to fully evaluate District Taco, I have to try a few of their tacos (especially Al Pastor - carved rotisserie pork, marinated with guajillo and served with chopped pineapple... Yum!) I have a hunch they're gonna be fantastic too. Here's hoping I can still find a seat.