The hip-mex trend continues: “Mexican taqueria bar” Johnny Pistolas opened in Adams Morgan last Friday, taking the place of Carriage House. This is the third venue the owners have put in the 18th Street location in two years—the bar Tom Tom originally gave way to Carriage House in April 2013. For this incarnation, the wood and brick interior of Carriage House will remain the same, though a 150-inch projection screen has been added to the upstairs bar to broadcast Sunday Night Football, and the exterior is being redone.
“L.A.-style” tacos will be the new restaurant's primary focus. “We thought there was a need for something different than the Tex-Mex restaurants that are in the area,” says chef Jeff Acevedo, who recently moved from New York and prefers to be called Jeff the Chef. (No relation to Chef Geoff.) “You won’t find quesadillas or fajitas here—there’s a huge emphasis on the tacos.”
Jeff the Chef recommends family style “taco trays,” which include six or nine tacos, for $24 or $35, respectively, selected by Acevedo. Individual tacos are $3 to $4, with options including crispy falafel with tzatziki sauce or crispy oyster with jalapeno-cornichon aioli. On Taco Tuesday—the first of which is today—all tacos are $2 all night.
Other highlights include cocktails like a prickly pear margarita and a blood orange jalapeno margarita, as well as desserts like the hot mini doughnuts or the dulce de manzana, a flatbread with apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Stay tuned for sushi burritos—a burrito-sized salmon entree wrapped in seaweed instead of a tortilla—and, in about two weeks, the restaurant’s weekend $30 “bruncharia” service. Based on the Brazilian churrascaria style seen at restaurants like Fogo de Chao, waiters continuously bring trays with 20 different food items—like huevos rancheros, charcuterie, or pan de queso (cheese bread) with guava butter—directly to your table along with eight bottomless beverages. The drinks include white “breakfast sangria,” which, according to Acevedo, gives you “the ability to get drunk for breakfast and not feel bad about it all day. You may come in standing, but you may leave crawling.”
Photos courtesy Johnny Pistolas