El Centro D. F. Opens on Blossoming 14th Street

El Pastor Tacos. Adobo marinade pork belly. With Mojito Mexicano. Served in the undergound Tequileria.

Washington, DC (July 13, 2011) – Internationally acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval will serve authentic Mexican comfort food at his newest restaurant, El Centro D.F., opening this May  at 1819 14th Street, NW.  Upon first glance, guests are greeted by an unsuspecting Taqueria; however, the restaurant spans three floors.  The ground floor Taqueria, lower level Tequileria and Rooftop each feature a unique ambiance inspired by a different dining experience in Mexico City.

“Life in Mexico City is fast and lively, but locals always take time to gather and unwind over comfort foods and fine tequilas,” says Chef Richard Sandoval.  “El Centro D.F. captures the energy of some of my favorite eateries in Mexico City.  The restaurant’s menu is based on traditional dishes.  From authentic chiles and cheeses, to fresh tortillas, to house-made sauces such as adobo, entomatada and tomatillo, the cooking at El Centro showcases the unique flavors of Mexico.”

Rough concrete surfaces and exposed underground lighting recreate Mexico’s dynamic city scene.

For this project, architect and designer, Brie Husted, drew inspirations from Mexico’s dynamic city scenes: “El Centro D.F. features three unique spaces that co-exist side by side, reminiscent of neighboring shops along a bustling side street.”  The design’s authentic interior is enhanced with reclaimed wood, vintage Mexican newspapers, rough concrete surfaces and antique chandeliers.

The ground-level Taqueria offers casual dining and tacos-to-go.  The space is energized by a lively open kitchen, which creates classic dishes with high quality ingredients, authentic seasonings and traditional techniques.  Signature dishes include: Tacos al Pastor with adobo marinade pork belly, cilantro, onion and grilled pineapple; Jalisco Shrimp & Crab Enchiladas with oaxaca cheese, corn, rajas and crema fresco, as well as Carne Asada with grilled skirt steak, sautéed chile poblano, chimichurri, chile morita sauce, sweet corn tamale and charro beans.

In the undergound Tequileria, Chef Sandoval’s menu of comfort food is served alongside 200 tequilas and mezcals.  The collection was curated by Danielle Griffin, Chef Sandoval’s accredited Tequila Sommelier, and Courtenay Greenleaf, who manages North America’s largest list of Tequilas at Chef Sandoval’s Biblioteca de Tequila in New York City.  Tasting flights allow guests to compare and contrast the many nuances of these spirits.  Mixologist Brennan Adams will work closely with the Tequila experts on the Tequileria’s cocktail menu.  He will merge classic and modern techniques to craft Mexican-inspired drinks with traditional herbs and botanicals, and fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  Flavored sodas, bitters and pickled garnishes will also be made in-house.  Toast with the Gutierrez, where a mezcal takes the place of gin in our variation of the classic Martinez cocktail or the Michelada Tochino, where house-smoked bacon forms the backbone in this variation of a traditional Mexican beer cocktail.

On the rooftop.

On the rooftop, guests can enjoy handcrafted margaritas and Latin cocktails, served from two outdoor bars. Later this summer, this upper level will launch a signature menu of dishes baked a la lena in the Rooftop’s brick oven.

Behind the scenes, El Centro D.F. is a collaboration between partners Richard Sandoval, Kaz Okochi, and Ivan Iricanin, who also partnered on the neighboring Masa 14.  El Centro, D.F. is located at 1819 14th Street, NW. Lunch will be served at the Taqueria and take-out window from 11 AM to 2 PM daily. Dinner will be served in the Taqueria and Tequileria from 5 PM to 11 PM daily; the late night menu is available Sunday through Thursday from 11 PM to 2 AM; Friday and Saturday 11 PM to 3 AM.  For reservations or additional information please call (202) 328-3131 or visit

More photos are on the Washington Lobbyist’s Facebook Fan Page.

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