Taqueria Poblano

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

Washington could hardly be farther from the Pacific Ocean, but the Baja Fish Taco at Taqueria el Poblano is a welcome taste of the other coast. Owner Glen Adams, who hails from Southern California, first opened the Alexandria branch in 1999, serves the food he grew up with. "Fish tacos were then a big item on the West Coast, so they were a natural thing to put on the menu," he says. After some tinkering, he developed his own recipe, which packs crispy chunks of beer-battered and fried mahi-mahi, Mexican slaw, crema and a dash of pico de gallo into a foil-wrapped soft corn tortilla.

Adams also serves some of the most authentic L.A.-style crispy tacos on this coast. The restaurant offers chile-braised shredded beef, chunks of cumin-laced chicken, adobo pork or sautéed vegetables in a fried shell. Each taco can also be served in a soft tortilla.

Both locations of Taqueria Poblano are family-friendly, offering bean burritos, crisp chicken taquitos and cheese quesadillas for young diners. On weekends, the restaurant hosts a popular brunch with live music, huevos rancheros, breakfast tacos and tangy lime coolers.

-- Erin Hartigan (April 24, 2012)