Another fast-casual Mexican spot? Yes, please, if it’s Alexandria’s Chop Shop Taco (1008 Madison St.). Here, chef Ed McIntosh—also behind the nearby Pendleton Carryout—stuffs freshly pressed tortillas with juicy pork cooked in a banana leaf and turns out a terrific riff on guacamole, done up with serrano-chili ash and scallions.
Hold the Liquor
Bars and restaurants are finally starting to take nonalcoholic cocktails seriously. Métier (1015 Seventh St., NW) has a new tea-based drink pairing—Saffron-carrot “martini”? Yum!—and Himitsu (828 Upshur St., NW) is launching a full “sobrio” menu.
Bring on the hoagie wars! Taylor Gourmet is coming back from the dead under new owners just as the sandwich chain’s former proprietor, Casey Patten, opens Grazie Grazie (85 District Sq., SW) at the Wharf—with a near-identical menu.
Here Comes the Neighborhood
Takoma Park, a neighborhood not known for a thrilling dining scene, is having a good year. First came the taco spot Cielo Rojo (7056 Carroll Ave.). Now there’s the Girl and the Vine (7071 Carroll Ave.), a wine shop, market, and counter-service restaurant from a pair of Elle alums. Our early favorites there: the Italian sub loaded with salami, prosciutto, and coppa; the turkey-and-potato-chip sandwich; and the carnitas nachos, drenched in spicy cheese sauce.
The Merrifield fixture Uncle Liu’s Hot Pot (2972 Gallows Rd., Falls Church) has new owners who previously ran Tempt Asian in Alexandria. While hot pot is still on the menu, what you actually want to order is the handmade noodles. Try the Henan-style stewed noodles with lamb or the wide strands that come with the chili-spiked “city large plate” chicken.
This article appears in the July 2019 issue of Washingtonian.