El Tapatio
A family-run storefront with authentic Guadalajaran specialties.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published October 11, 2006
Cheap Eats (2009) Dirt Cheap Eats (2008)

El Tapatio
Address: 4309 Kenilworth Ave., Bladensburg, MD 20710
Phone: 301-403-8882
Neighborhood: Bladensburg
Cuisines: South American, Mexican, Breakfast
Opening Hours: Open daily 10 to 10.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Kid Friendly: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: West Hyattsville
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Chiles rellenos; torta with beer-stewed beef, breaded chicken, or braised pork; seafood and shrimp soups; chicken, pork, or chorizo soft tacos; mole enchiladas; huevos rancheros; chilaquiles; housemade tortillas.
Price Details: Appetizers $2 to $2.50; entrées $10 to $13.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly

From June 2006 Cheap Eats

From house-made tortillas to mole-blanketed enchiladas, the Guadalajaran family that runs this restaurant in Bladensburg knows its stuff. This is the real thing, not Tex-Mex, not Salva-Mex, but honest-to-God Mexican food.

The jukebox can be blaring, and servers aren't always fluent in English, but take it as a stamp of authenticity and settle in with the Latinos who gather for the filling and familiar plates.

A can of Tecate arrives with a wedge of lime, and the basket of crisp house-made chips is paired with warm, just-spicy-enough salsa. Chiles rellenos, done up with an airy, eggy batter and a restrained stuffing of cheese--may be the best around. Enchiladas poblanos get a blanket of mole sauce, sweet with chocolate and spicy with chilies. Soft tacos filled with crusty chunks of chicken and pork--plus a slice or two of radish, a sprig of cilantro, and lime for spritzing--are elevated by the house-made tortillas (usually available to go, six for $1). The stupendous torta is a house-baked torpedo roll filled with breaded Milanese-style cutlets of pork or chicken, or, best of all, beer-stewed beef; a big spoonful of beans and a smashed avocado half makes it a substantial meal. Just as memorable are the chilaquiles, a heaping scramble of torn tortillas, crumbly white queso, and your choice of red- or green-chili sauce; a hit of vinegar brings all the flavors together.
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