Cheap Eats 2011: Guajillo

This Mexican restaurant shares a strip-mall location with a burger joint and a pho parlor, but there’s a feeling of authenticity thanks to dusky orange paint, Diego Rivera-esque paintings, and cowhide-wrapped chairs. The festive air starts with a bottomless basket of house-fried chips with a smoky salsa.

The kitchen’s skill is evident in its mole, a sauce that involves no fewer than 15 ingredients and lots of hours. The rich and nutty version here comes ladled over chicken enchiladas. The mole and other regional dishes are most rewarding here; the Tex-Mex staples–quesadillas, chimichangas–are average.

Also good: Shrimp ceviche; plantains with black beans and Mexican crema; corn tamales with chicken; sopapillas; churros.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.