One pebbly tortilla holds skirt steak with a slick of smoky, grilled guacamole. Another encloses an airily fried filet of tilapia striped with squid-ink aïoli. The unusual accessories signal that this isn’t your average taco joint, and that’s thanks to chef Victor Albisu, also behind the excellent (and extravagantly priced) Penn Quarter steakhouse Del Campo. As good as his tacos are here, Albisu’s sopes are an even better vehicle for the high-quality meats—the fried-to-a-crisp masa rounds hold pile-ups of, say, tender carnitas plus shredded lettuce, jalapeños, and crema. The snug, barstool-lined place sits a few doors down from Plaza Latina, the market owned by Albisu’s mother, which he raids for his chorizo and chilies.
Where to find it: 2190 Pimmit Dr., Falls Church; 703-639-0505
Also good: Tacos al pastor; El Beso taco, with pork, beef tongue, and charred scallions; tamale with salsa verde; torta cubana, a sandwich with carnitas, ham, cheddar, and pickled jalapeños; elote, corn on the cob with mayonnaise and cotija cheese.