Taco To Go

When I worked on Capitol Hill, lunch was often a depressing time. Would it bring a questionable Union Station food court specialty, the same ol' chicken salad from Cafe Phillips, maybe a bland salad from La Colline Express? Why oh why couldn't Taqueria Nacionale have been around back then?

The two-week-old taco shop from Ann Cashion and Johnny Fulchino, the owners of neighboring Johnny's Half Shell, replaces La Colline Express at 400 North Capitol St. NW.

Start with a sweet, refreshing agua fresca in watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple or cinnamon-spiced horchata (made with chufa, not rice). The fish taco (at right), made with lightly fried wild pollock, and the pork taco, offering braised and shredded pork, scallions, onions, cilantro and Serrano chiles, are my personal favorites. Pour some of the three housemade salsas on top to add extra flavor.

Taqueria Nacionale also serves breakfast tacos and daily American specials, which follow this schedule: Monday, made-to-order burger with pimento cheese and fries; Tuesday, brisket sandwich with coleslaw; Wednesday, chicken pot pie; Thursday, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy; and Friday, jambalaya with shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage. Prices for the specials run from $5.50 to about $7.

Breakfast, including waffles and scrambled eggs with bacon, grits and biscuits, is served from 7 to 10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Read my full report from last week on RollCall.com (subscription req'd).

(Metrocurean photos.)