A Modern Take on Mexican in the Heart of Downtown, DC
I have a tendency of meaningfully shaking my head in a way that can, wrongfully, be interpreted as a sentiment of “dismay” when I taste food that rudely awakens my senses with utter satisfaction.
And so at Chef Todd English’s soft opening of MXDC, I was exhibiting a whole lot of “dismay” to the point where servers on THREE separate occasions asked worriedly, “No good?” By the second go-around, they adopted my, seemingly, inappropriate gesture but added their own, “Riiiight? I know, so good!”
What I enjoyed most about the majority of the items featured was the consistent presence of spice and citrus. Anyone can put together a concoction of fresh ingredients and make a decent meal. What pushes MXDC’s food over-the-top was Chef de Cuisine JC Pavlovich’s tactful use of citrus and spice varieties to compliment the taste of the main ingredient in each featured item. The only exception to that was the hongos taco (wild mushroom and truffle corn salsa), which had no apparent essence of citrus or spice. And rightfully so -- the taste of truffle need not ever be complimented.
Any items I wasn’t too fond of? Just one. Let me preface by saying I’m not a blue cheese connoisseur and my taste buds seem to be more sensitive to salt than the average palate. With that being said, I experienced no “dismay” for the beets under the “Ceviches/Tiraditos" portion of the menu. Made with blue cheese, jalapeño, ginger (and, what looks like pickled red onion, although not listed on the menu) the ginger played its role in cutting down the saltiness of the blue cheese, but just not enough for my palate.
This portion of the menu also offers scallop. Served with chipotle, smoked peppers, tomato, and lemon, this item was a hit in my book.
The mahi mahi taco was, by far, my favorite and the favorite of a few other attendees. The acidic sweetness of the pineapple salsa and the spice of jalapeño simultaneously lulled and brightened the sweetness of the baja beer battered mahi mahi, delivering to our taste buds a well-balanced trifecta of flavor.
Also delicious was the carne asada taco made with soy-ginger skirt steak, pico de gallo, pickled red onion, and avocado.
Carne Asada Taco
(Suggestion for salt-sensitive palates: request extra avocado to better compliment the soy-ginger and pickled red onion)
And don’t forget to try the crab guacamole, made with grapefruit, serrano chili, and rosemary.
How about the drinks?
By word of mouth, the hibiscus margarita, topped off with a slice of lime and candied hibiscus flower, quickly became the drink of the evening. Coming in at a close second was the paloma cocktail, also tequila-based, made with lime juice, grapefruit soda and a ruby red wedge of grapefruit.
Hibiscus Margarita in the making
Last but, certainly, not least: the interior.
Simply put, it's gorgeous. Modern, without that minimalist feel. A fashion-forward Pottery Barn, if you will.
I will be visiting MXDC again very soon for food, drinks, and ambiance.
Special thank you to Chef JC Pavlovich for putting together a beautiful tasting, Chef Todd English for being a wonderful host and bringing MX flavor to DC living, and mixologist, JP Caceres, for bringing tequila drinkers to their knees.
MXDC officially opened yesterday so make your reservations today.