El Centro D.F. serves an array of Mexican foods and alcoholic beverages


El Centro D.F. Photo courtesy of R. Lopez.
El Centro D.F. Photo courtesy of R. Lopez.

By: Alexandra Greeley

Weekend brunches are the end game for all foodies, especially the hip millennials. What better time to meet, greet, and eat? And perhaps one of the most popular must-go places is Georgetown’s El Centro D.F. (1218 Wisconsin Ave, NW). After all, it features a bottomless brunch that includes a range of mimosas, Bloody Marys, Bloody Marias, and margaritas, plus more. I can’t forget about the food, of course.

But you must make a reservation. If you don’t, you may end up waiting in line. On a recent Saturday around noon, the restaurant was packed, with every inch of table and counter space locked down. In fact, the upstairs seating was full. The manager asked if I had a reservation. Somehow, seats opened up at the front bar immediately.

Booze or not, the main draw here is the honest Tex-Mex eats inspired by Richard Sandoval, a native Mexican chef. He has two other El Centro D.F. locations in the District. If you stop by during the week for lunch, the extensive menu consists of grilled quesadillas, enchiladas and fajitas, street tacos, tortas, burritos, and hamburguesas. This menu also offers a section of chef’s special — which comes with pork carnitas, chiles relleno, and chilaquiles El Centro.

Sadly, El Centro D.F.’s brunch menu is pared down extensively, probably to accommodate people who are eager for margaritas and tacos. While sipping the selected beverage, consider the brunch selections. You should start with the guacamole, which is served in a granite molcajete bowl. Indeed, it adds a note of authenticity. A delicious composition of mashed avocados and spices, this comes with a side of crunchy taco chips.

Furthermore, other appetizers include a carne asada quesadilla, grilled chicken quesadilla, chicken pozole soup, picadillo empanada, and others. To boost your entrée choices, add the carne asada and the grilled chicken quesadillas.

Next, you can balance the meal. Of the six taco choices, the carnitas (pork) and the steak with cilantro are delish. But other choices include egg and chorizo, bacon-egg-cheese, and chicken tinga tacos.

Heartier fare includes, among other options, an El Centro dog; a breakfast enchilada with scrambled eggs and chorizon; Jalisco enchiladas; and the perfect breakfast/brunch/dinner dish, huevos rancheros. Every Latino cook has his or her own recipe. But the traditional dish includes fried eggs, refried beans, taco sauce, and corn tortillas. However, this dish is dressed up in countless ways. For example, you can add bacon, chipotle chiles in adobo,  avocado, or sour cream. Either way, this is always a key entrée.

And as you continue sipping your margarita, do not forget the final sweet touch: the churros with cajeta and chocolate sauce. You can also add the hibiscus agua fresca as a refreshing palate cleanser. After that, you can head out for the rest of the day.

For more information about El Centro D.F., call 202-328-3131. Hours: Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Thur.-Sat., noon to 11:59 p.m.; Sun., 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.