There’s been chatter about Sol Mexican Grill on our neighborhood listserve, as there tends to be when a new place opens. All of the comments have been positive, so I decided to walk over for lunch.
Sol turns out to be the fourth link in a local chain. It has a small space near Fessenden and Wisconsin, with eight two-tops plus a bench along the front wall for seating, so you could squeeze in two or three more people. When I went there were four more chairs outside just crying out for a table. You order at the counter, and they bring the food to you if you’re eating inside. As to decor, well, Sol is not a date night place. They were doing a lively takeout business while I was there, but I decided to eat inside.
Sol gives you options. You can design your own tacos, burritos, flats, bowls, or nachos, with a choice of carne asada, carnitas, pollo, chorizo, and vegetables, plus lots of toppings. And there are fish tacos, that I know are tilapia and that I hear are fried. Sol also has predictable sides and Mexican and US soft drinks.
I wasn’t interested in sorting through the options, so I ordered three Tacos Mexicanos, which automatically come with onions, cilantro, and pico de Gallo on doubled corn tortillas. For the meats, I chose one each of carnitas, carne asada, and chorizo. The food arrived promptly and freshly prepared.
I started with the carnitas taco. The pork had been finely chopped and, as an inevitable consequence, was a touch dry. But it was oh, so flavorful, with that great rich roast pork taste accented by some caramelized bits. This was as good a carnitas taco as I’ve found in DC, and it was the star of the meaI.
I next tried the carne asada, perhaps unfairly because the carnitas taco was such a tough act to follow. The beef was, of course, less flavorful. I looked, and there was no sign of the caramelization on the beef that I expect on carne asada. This was a pretty routine taco, enlivened by Sol’s salsa verde. I should have added some guacamole, or perhaps some salsa roja.
That left the chorizo taco. It was good, but not as spicy and assertive as I like chorizo, which is pretty spicy. Your taste may differ. The salsa verde improved it, and I’d rank it as good as, possibly a tad better than most other local taco places, but it didn’t wow me as did the carnitas.
Those tree tacos ended up being a lot of food. They had considerably more meat than the other taco places in the neighborhood, and it was good that I had a mile walk home ahead of me to work some of it off. I did regret not being up to trying their tres leches cake, my second favorite cake in the world. This cake is my favorite, and it’s similar to tres leches.
Here’s my take: Sol is a good place to get takeout, although they could add some more heat to their dishes. Their food should travel well (not sure about anything fried), servings are generous, and it’s very reasonable. I should try the pollo. If they can roast that as well as they roast the pork, it should be very good. Otherwise, I’d go with a carnitas burrito, and I need to try their guacamole and queso — and the tres leches. I encourage you to check out Sol next time you get takeout, or any time you want to dart in for a quick lunch.
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