Eating DC: Espita Mezcaleria

I recently tried out Espita Mezcaleria in DC’s Shaw Neighborhood.  This restaurant is relatively new and focuses on southern Mexican cuisine and has a full Mezcal bar, making this a super unique find in DC.  The restaurant itself is new and hip looking with industrial detailing and traditional Oaxacan mural type art painting on to the walls.  
I have found it pretty hard to find what I consider to be authentic Mexican food in DC- being from CA, and I would say this place does a great job.  While there are some unique items on the menu, I was most impressed with their line up of homemade salsa ranging from a classic chipotle salsa to a tequila infused salsa and even a peanut salsa that was incredible.
The menu includes salsas, ceviches, moles (which you don’t see often), soups, salads, fundido (melted cheese dips), tacos, tlayudas (similar to a tostada) and sides.  Since I was sharing with a friend, we decided to go for a couple of salsas, the fried shisido peppers (something I always HAVE to order when I see them) and three different types of tacos.
The three tacos we ordered were extremely different in textures and flavors but all delicious!  The first taco we got was a taco filled with fried mini fish.  This was probably the most unique taco we got.  Since the fish were so tiny and fried, they basically just tasted like salty tempura bits with mayo.  There was a great crunch and the salty fried fish with the sweet and spicy mayo was amazing.  The only thing I wish was different was the fish to mayo ratio was a bit off.  When there wasn’t enough mayo, the fish was a bit dry.
Crispy Chanquetes- Mini Silverside Fish, Cracked Pasilla, Lime Mayo 
Next we played it safe with a skirt steak taco.  This was delicious and the meat was cooked perfectly!
Skirt Steak- Salsa Baga, Cilantro

 Lastly, we got the pork jowl tacos which were probably my favorite.  I am huge pork fan in general and seeing jowl on the menu was a real treat.  The lettuce and raw onion gave a freshness to this fatty meat and it was really outstanding.

Smoked Pork Jowl- Mustard Oil Mayo, Shredded Lettuce, Red Onion

On top of all these goodies, we ordered cocktails (because you will definitely want a cocktail after you see their amazing drink list).  Normally, I am not a tequila person but I decided to order a mezcal cocktail for the hell of it and actually really enjoyed it.  For anyone that doesn’t know, Mezcal and Tequila are pretty much the same, the only difference being the type of agave that is used to make the alcohol.  I find it to be a bit milder and less harsh on the back of your throat.

Overall, I think this place is a great addition to the neighborhood, bringing a cuisine that was desperately needed to DC.

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