Well, clearly somebody likes District Taco. Indeed, a lot of somebodies judging by the swaths of humanity whenever I’ve tried to get food here. After seeing the crowds and hearing the stark raving gushing from friends of mine, you would expect District Taco to have been an eye opener. There was once darkness but now I can see – stuff like that. However, when considering El Charrito – our standard bearer for this sort of thing – District Taco works out as a pretty massive disappointment, sort of the difference between visiting the Grand Canyon and staring at a picture of the Grand Canyon. Sure, the picture’s nice – and it resembles the thing, but when you sit on the ledge and stare into the ravine … come on now.
When I did get a shot at going to District Taco, my main investment was in the Burrito Mojado, which was a meat burrito of some ilk (I went with barbacoa – just like at Chipotle, the best of the meats in theory), covered with salsa chile black beans, cheese and such – basically turning a burrito into something more like an enchilada. It was interesting since the salsa was allegedly authentic and “Yucatan Spicy” whatever that means. Personally, it looked a lot like the Yucatan people liked chile con carne by what the salsa chile was. Also the heat level was really relatively minor – and so you are left with a chile covered burrito the size of my head. The beef was surprisingly muted flavorwise for something like a barbacoa. Similarly the life partner’s spin with chicken and carnitas tacos were similarly unremarkable. In all of these cases too, spicy salsa was in a bar a la chipotle with a variety of toppings of one’s choosing. This is all well and good, but alas – you don’t really get much of a flavor of the enterprise and not much differentiation with stuff like California Tortilla (granted it is much much better than THAT). El Charrito with the corn tortillas and more authentic seasoning and meat selection just blows it away.
Now is District Taco paying a sin here for not being the best taqueria I know? I suppose it is – I can’t say that it’s BAD in any meaningful sense. But on the other side, can I sit here and give it rarefied hype for POSSIBLY being better than Chipotle? I like Chipotle – quite a bit actually – but if the goal is to justify the hype and legend of District Taco, simply being a Chipotle peer doesn’t seem like nearly enough.