Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Taqueria Poblano

DSC 0019A new Taqueria Poblano has very recently opened, now inviting customers for dinner hours to start. The newly opened restaurant in Penrose Square joins two locations – one in Alexandria and one in North Arlington – in the growing Northern Virginia Mexican food chain.

The restaurants bill themselves as the “tac ‘o’ the town,” and if that’s the case, then the first words from patrons entering the Columbia Pike restaurant will certainly be some comment on the festive décor. Tables and booths wrapped around a tiled central bar are painted in vivid tones – blues, oranges and yellows – with patterns and shapes spread across tabletops and even laid upon the painted floor.

The fare, too, makes a colorful impression, with the bright pink of red onion escabeche, the muted green of guacamole, and the pops of deep green cilantro set against red tomato pieces in pico de gallo – all of which is delivered on plates and in baskets that bring more vibrant tones into the mix.

While perusing the menu, diners are invited to enjoy tortilla chips, served with a side of pleasantly spicy salsa.

Among the few available appetizers are the Taquitos ($7.75), three helpings of meat-stuffed, rolled corn tortillas. In the chicken variety, moist meat lies beneath the crisp shell of the fried tortillas, its savory flavor met with a lightly seasoned cream sauce that is drizzled across the trio. A helping of guacamole and pico de gallo also accompanies the dish.

While entree burritos and platters of multiple Mexican fare creations are available, some tacos can be ordered a la carte. The L.A. Style Crispy Taco ($3.95) is available in four treatments – packed with chile-braised shredded beef, cumin-poached chicken, adobo-seasoned pork, or a vegetarian mix – and lives up to its name, as its super-crunchy shell sits unfazed by the tender fillings packed within it, breaking away with each bite. The Duck Carnitas ($5.50) taco stacks lime-seasoned roast duck pieces so high with guacamole, cheese, pico de gallo, and red onion escabeche that its flour tortilla can hardly wrap around it all, but the clever duck concoction is flavorful. Seafood, too, finds its way on the tacos menu, with the Shrimp Taco ($5.50) and the Baja Fish Taco ($4.50).

Tacos return on the entrees menu, listed under “Platos,” included among a host of other dishes like Chicken Mole Verde ($12.95) and Chile Relleno ($10.95 for one of the cheese-stuffed peppers on a platter, and $13.95 for two). Among the Platos are the Tres Enchiladas ($13.95), which are much like the appetizer Taquitos, though in this rendition the tortillas are slathered in a lightly spicy red chile sauce, topped in a layer of melted cheese, and offered up, one of each, stuffed with shredded pieces of chicken, pork and beef.

The house burrito is listed as “Poblano’s Real Burrito.” These tortilla-wrapped feats are colossal. Packed with a hefty portion of beans and cheese, pork, chicken, beef, or a vegetarian blend, the burritos can come topped in ranchero sauce, guacamole and a cream sauce for an additional cost, and burritos cost between $6.95 and $11.75.

A trio of desserts – a rice pudding ($4.75), fried chocolate fritters over vanilla ice cream ($5.25), or just a helping of vanilla ice cream ($2.50) – awaits those who can navigate the sizeable portions and leave room for a little something sweet after a meal full of bursts of color and flavor.

Taqueria Poblano is located at 2401 Columbia Pike, Arlington. For more information, call 703-271-8979 or visit taqueriapoblano.com. 

Restaurant hours are Monday – Thursday: 5 – 10 p.m.; Friday – Saturday: 5 – 11 p.m. and Sunday: 4 – 10 p.m. (Lunch hours coming soon)