Samantha's Restaurant melds a variety of Latin American culinary traditions into a single menu rife with fresh seafood, sizzling fajitas, and stuffed poblano peppers. Washingtonian magazine highlighted the masitas de puerco, a traditional Havana dish of bitter orange-marinated pork, as well as the "peppy mariachi soundtrack" that fosters a lively atmosphere. As appetizers of citrus-and-ginger-infused ceviche disappear like a repossessed magic kit, diners can turn their focus to mesquite-grilled fish or a refreshing cocktail from the fully stocked bar.
The chefs at La Casita Pupuseria pull their recipes from El Salvador, a country where fresh shrimp and savory meats are in no short supply. To craft their signature pupusa—a traditional Salvadoran snack that enticed the palate of reporters from the Washington Post—they sculpt masa into perfectly round balls before packing it with cheese, meats, and veggies. They carefully pinch off excess dough so they can procure an ideal balance of masa and filling, as well as secretly help the Pillsbury Doughboy gather enough material to eventually build himself a wife, finally. The skilled cooks sizzle the plump discs on a griddle before plating them with fresh pickled cabbage and tomato salsa.
Once plates of warm pupusas have been delivered to hungry diners, chefs turn their attention to orders of crisp enchiladas and fresh seafood ceviches. They also whip up a variety of natural juices and fresh licuados, favoring juicy slices of mango, papaya, and mamey.
Mid Atlantic Seafood's kitchen staff assembles creations from an eclectic menu of fish samplers, wings, sandwiches, breakfast items, and Chinese-inspired dishes. Patrons can choose from almost 20 types of fish, such as haddock ($9.99–$18.99) and catfish ($9.49–$18.49), and order they be baked, grilled, stuffed, or nestled between layers of bread in a sandwich.
Jumbo shrimp sautéed with garlic-cream sauce. Pan-seared pork in a white-wine sauce. New york strip steak and quail. Many of the menu items at El Paraiso Tex-Mex Restaurant expand on the restaurant’s designation as a spicy, south-of-the-border-inspired eatery. There are plenty of staples, too, such as burritos, chimichangas, quesadillas, and enchiladas. Most come stuffed with vegetables, ground beef, shrimp, or chicken, and all feature a dollop of guacamole, a scoop of pico de gallo, or a troll’s spoonful of sour cream.
If comfort food is supposed to evoke a sense of ease and familiarity, the Impossible Double Hank burger breaks rather severely with tradition. With its intimidating name and heaps of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bacon, and cheddar, the burger forces the brave patrons of Hank’s Tavern & Eats to confront their most delicious fears. Though less overwhelming than the double-portioned hamburgers, the tavern’s shrimp po’ boys, baby back ribs, and fish burritos are made with similarly fresh ingredients and prove just as tasty. While digging into these and other hearty eats, patrons can follow local sports on 20 TV screens and guesstimate their height by lying facedown on the 50-foot bar.