Gringos & Mariachis, Bethesda

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day for Gringos & Mariachis (see List of Restaurant Openings – 2014)), and although they still had their soft opening signs up, it was pretty well full, and I was fortunate to find a single bar seat.

The bar staff I saw there could be described in three words: young, male, and friendly. For example, the Wizards game was showing on the flat-screen in front of me, but one of the gentlemen took the time to come up to me (who was watching the game) and asked me if I’d mind if they switched it to the Olympics. (“No, actually I’d prefer it – thanks for asking.”)

After enjoying a bottle of Breckenridge Agave Wheat ($8), I ordered a bottle of Pork Pozole ($5.95), a good appetizer-bowl of soup based on chicken broth, with all the requisites: morsels of pork, hominy, radish, a couple of tortilla chips for those who wish to break and dunk them, and tiny containers of hot sauce and dry spice for self-seasoning. This was a really satisfying bowl of soup, and even though it might not stand up to some of the more “meal-like” pozoles in town, I couldn’t imagine anyone being terribly disappointed with it.

I ordered a second bottle of Breckenridge Agave Wheat too soon, and should have gone with the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter ($8) as a more perfect match for my Mole Poblano ($15.95), two pieces of chicken – large thighs, I think - drowned in a 28-ingredient mole (according to Bethesda Magazine), and served with a large scoop of tinted rice. This was a good mole poblano that might not win any awards, but one which I certainly didn’t regret ordering, especially on night number one.

 Playing a guessing game, if I had to pick out one restaurant Gringos & Mariachis feels like, it would be an early Bandolero, and the food – at least the food I had – was something comparable. I was pleasantly surprised by this restaurant which scarcely even has any signage up (Mia’s Pizza will be your locator – this is in the old Bangkok One space).

 The tacos, even though I didn’t order any, looked a bit on the small side, but I didn’t really get a good look, so I’m going to pretend I didn’t see them and initiate coverage of Gringos & Mariachis in Italic in the Dining Guide.


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