Following Baja Fresh?s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
Upon relocating to Maryland from Los Angeles, the owners of Tortacos immediately noticed one thing—the lack of quality tacos. They’ve done their best to right this wrong by crafting California-inspired tacos whose corn tortillas are piled with toppings such as pico de gallo, cilantro, radishes, lime, and house onion mix. Diners can get their tacos with fish, or with one of five other meats—including charbroiled steak and braised pork—that also lay the foundation for burritos, quesadillas, or sopes. Tortas, the other half of the eatery’s name, are Mexican-style sandwiches that layer meat, beans, and avocado between two slices of fluffy bread.
Chefs use grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, and steroid-free pulled pork that hail from sustainable sources to craft a bounty of tortilla-wrapped treats that take their names from the likes of Caddyshack, Fletch, and Seinfeld. It's this dual mindset of serious food and irreverent attitude that tinges every one of the eatery's southwestern morsels, from the Art Vandalay burrito to the John Coctostan quesadilla. As the kitchen staff crafts their daily batch of guacamole to join the lineup of six zesty salsas, diners choose from a list of more than 20 ingredients to fill out the entree that will soon be conjured before their eyes. Because dishes are made to order, each finds easy customization for vegetarian, gluten free, and low-calorie diets, and the absence of microwaves, trans-fats, and MSG keep eats wholesome. Meanwhile, a complimentary accompaniment of chips and salsa turns portions into full meals faster than an industry-grade blow-up ray.
Beyond Tequila Grande's vibrant, kitsch-rich dining room, chef and owner Renu crafts Mexican dishes that have earned accolades for flavor and authenticity from publications such as the Washington Times. A far cry from her native Indian cuisine, the chef carefully incorporates signature Central American flavors such as mango, roasted chilies, and habaneros across the menu.
The hacienda-style building's bright wall-size murals evoke an idyllic farmland brought to life, depicting the agricultural practices and accidental kitchen fires that gave birth to the distinctive cooking style. An outdoor patio adds fresh air to the list of amenities to be enjoyed, sheltered from the sun by umbrellas and the shade of blossom-bearing trees.
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.
Springing from the mindparts of CEO and founder John Kunkel, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill combines the tasty flavor of Mexican fare with a dedication to healthy eating and responsible food sourcing. After cutting its teeth in the mean streets of Miami's South Beach, Lime Fresh spread its delicious message across the country, stuffing organic beans, colorful veggies, homemade salsas, and humanely raised meats into tortillas made from non-genetically-modified corn and flour. Chefs grill quesadillas, roll burritos, and sizzle fajitas before customers' eyes, and they can easily convert each item on the menu into a vegetarian-friendly feast or a makeshift futon. As guests content themselves with mouthfuls of flavorful tacos, fresh salads, and cheesy scoops of nachos, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill's dedicated staff works hard behind the scenes to build strong community relationships through contributions to local charities and nonprofits.