The DC area is home to a lot of restaurants, and among them are hidden gems that many Washingtonians aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share with us their under-the-radar recommendations for Dining Confidential. Are you a chef with a suggestion? Shoot us an email.
Chef Ron Tanaka has quite the restaurant pedigree under his belt -- Cork, New Heights, and Palena among others -- and now co-owns Shaw's Thally on the neighborhood's growing 9th Street restaurant scene. But when the chef from San Diego is not busting out squash noodles and mustard-brined pork chops, the Logan Circle resident likes to support local establishments, especially those that dish out Latin flavors like he's used to on the West Coast.
"Since I lived in Logan Circle for 15 years, there used to be a lot of hidden gems, like an amazing puperia, but many of those have disappeared over the last few years. One of the places that I like is El Rinconcito on 11th & M. It's always crowded and does real comforting food, and since it's in-between my restaurant and my house, it's convenient as well. The place is family-owned. The pupusas are good as are the tacos al carbon and their version of steak and eggs. But they don't make tostones anymore. Sometimes I'll sit-in, but I usually grab it to go on my way to work.
The other gem is Chix. There's one on 15th, but I go to the one on 11th. It's very green and everything is recycled. The place has a bo-ho feeling, and you can go upstairs by the window and it's serene and peaceful. I prefer the Colombian spicy chicken dish -- always the dark meat -- with beans and rice. And at CHIX, I always dine-in.
I grew up in San Diego, so I ate plenty of Mexican food and stuff. I like cumin and I like spice. And I like to support places where I live. In the end, we choose where we spend our money, and I like to help the little guys out."
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Chix DC[Photo: Facebook]