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Restaurants & Bars 19

Report: Guajillo

John Galt | Nov 11, 2003 09:15 AM

I am a hound who has recently relocated to the D.C. area. After spending the last several weeks lurking, getting a feel for the new board, and dining at various board recommendations (Pollo Rico, Rose's, El Charro Caminante, Food Factory, Bistro Bis, Afghan Restaurant, Taste of Saigon, Huong Viet, Shamshirry, etc.), I am finally inspired to write by last night's visit to Guajillo.

My meal was excellent.

Since my visit to Mexico, the food of no other restaurant has reminded me as much of Mexico as the food at Guajillo. The chips and salsa are a revelation. The freshly-made chips are slightly thinner than usual, and therefore carry less oil and seem unusually light. They are the perfect medium for the fresh salsa, redolent of smoky peppers and tomatoes, but not too fiery to appreciate.

Bad Mexican food is a mess. It clumsily slops together ingredients that are very rich (cheese), very spicy (peppers), and very heavy (flour/corn.) The best Mexican chefs, then, excel at subtlety -- finding the perfect proportions of these often abused ingredients.

The shrimp and goat cheese tacos were a perfect example. Three toothsome flour tortillas enclosed an abundance of plump pink-and-white shrimp. Although there was barely a trace of the promised goat cheese, the poblano and white wine sauce more than made up for its absence. At $17, this is not cheap eats. But, it was well worth it.

Incidentally, only the specials reach the high teens. Most dishes hover around $10-$12.

1727 N. Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA
Open daily for lunch and dinner; Sunday for brunch

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