I just finished planning a trip to Washington D.C, on my visit I’ll be seeing some of the best museums our nation has to offer and dining at one of my favorite non-Mexican restaurants, Clyde’s of Georgetown. For the sake of efficiency I plan to find a great taco spot on my travels. While I’ve been to DC for both business and a few getaways, I don’t recall each Mexican restaurant I’ve been to in full detail. Sadly it’s the bad experiences in life we remember vividly, whether it’s the negative things people are capable of saying or doing or overall just bad experiences as we age. While Dc and Georgetown do have some taco spots finding a good one is far and in between, its like finding a good bagel or a slice of pizza outside the NY metropolitan area.
While looking for a new spot I saw a familiar name show up recently, El Centro D.F. As I hovered over it in Google locations it showed me that I had been there on April 11, 2015.
This is the story of the worst dining experience and food I’ve ever had at a restaurant
The date brought me back to that spring night, I saw a comedy show earlier at The Bier Baron Hotel, I figured I would eat later. Every restaurant in Georgetown had an hour plus wait, that night Clyde’s was booked, younger and much dumber me settled on El Centro also inconsistently called El Centro D.F. across the internet.
While El Centro poses as a “Mexican” restaurant during the day, the second floor becomes a nightclub of sorts. The reviews on Google continue to this day and on Yelp; you’ll find every (multiple) claim from: rude bartenders, “racist” bouncers, or the hostess not caring, and a very similar dining experiences to what I’m about to tell you.
This restaurant has taught me a lot of things:
- Some restaurants should have a long wait time – be patient, good food comes with being patient.
- Be aware of the area you’re in – great food comes from great cultures, the less diverse of an area, there is a higher probability of the food being potentially unauthentic. The US Population of Hispanic Origin is around 58 million, 36 million of those are of Mexican origin according to The Pew Research Center. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find relatively authentic Mexican food most places within the US.
- Flashy Places sometimes neglect the food.
- Always get the reservations to the restaurant you want.
- bars/clubs are not going to have good food one part of the establishment is going to be neglected.
Time for me to complain and the airing of grievances to commence…
If you’ve ever wanted to eat inside an Abercrombie and Fitch – the opportunity awaits, it’s dark in here, I mean very dark. I was seated on the second floor as the first floor was full, a bar takes up the majority of the space downstairs. If my memory serves me correct the ceiling is a dark color and the floors are a….dark color. The lighting is also very dim. Want to have a conversation with your date or friend? – yeah that’s not happening, it’s really fucking loud too. The hostess sat me up stairs and let me know that in an hour and half the restaurant staff would move the tables to set everything up as a dance floor. I appreciated her being forward and telling me, but with more than an hour of time, I didn’t see time being an issue.
Anyway time was an issue, a big issue, it took about 20 minutes to order, with another 45 minutes till the food arrived. If you’ve mastered basic math, you’ll see there’s a very narrow window to eat.
I did eventually order tacos here, but my night started with ordering fajitas (dumber & younger amateur move) the two tortillas I was served were the size of those Lunchables pizzas, you remember from grammar school. Anyway below is a reference for size. By the way if your mom took the time to make you a healthy lunch vs having one of those preservative packed advertisements you were uncool…nerd.
I tried biting into the steak, I felt like a dog biting into a chew toy. I couldn’t actually tear the meat, I’d best describe it as overcooked and rubbery. Truthfully the first and last time I’ve sent food back, at $19 I felt I was being robbed of my time and money.
Upon telling the waiter, I could see he had heard the story before and was apologetic he knew he was on a sinking ship. As the waiter ran back to the kitchen, the hostess decided now would be a good time to let me know that now they needed to move the tables. Yeah I did it, I asked for the manager….
After speaking with the Manager, (pains me to say) he offered to sit me downstairs, comp me and let me order something else. I knew steak was too difficult for them to pull off, I glanced at the menu and blurted out “chicken tinga tacos.”.
After sitting downstairs a young waiter brought us food. And here it comes, the quote of the night from the waiter.
“Yeah these were sitting for a few, I just nuked them so they wouldn’t be cold”
Where to begin? – the tacos were…well, they tasted like they had been nuked in the microwave, lukewarm in the middle warm on the edges. Uncooked rubbery tortillas, and the overall flavor was very bland, the shredded chicken was soaked and marinated with what was water I’d assume. I actually don’t even think I ate them all. After tipping my waiters (I’m not a total asshole) I left, admitted defeat, and I think I grabbed something to eat at a 7/11 on the way back to my hotel. I do commend the manager for attempting to make the situation better.
Anyway moral of the story is get a reservation at the place you wanted and avoid El Centro in Georgetown, don’t believe me check their Yelp page.
- Solid Taco Review Score: 0/10
- Taco Price: $12 for 3 tacos, $18.75 for Steak Fajitas
- Location: Georgetown – Washington, D.C
- Strengths: None – Microwave didn’t work either.