El Rey opened a few weeks ago; it's the latest project from neighborhood entrepreneurs Eric and Ian Hilton. The restaurant got a lot of attention for its design, fashioned out of old shipping containers. Does the food generate the same enthusiasm? Here's what the first bloggers, Yelpers and others had to say about El Rey.
The Garbage Margarita News: Right now, El Rey is earning 2.5 stars on Yelp with 23 reviews in. One is from Ksenlya K, who writes, "The margaritas were garbage, I know it's not the sexiest cocktail but seriously sour, overpriced, and tiny. I tried some sort of a peppery lemon tequila thing after and it was ok...Tacos - I had carne asade and my friend had fish. Those have got to be the smallest tacos I have ever had. Two bites and it's done. I think the tortilla was the size of a Doritos chip. It was tasty but 3$ per taco?!" [Yelp]
The No Taco Tuesday News: Ima M. on Yelp writes, "We ordered a margarita pitcher ($28) on the rocks. The bartender then gathered all of the ice in these United States of America and put them in our pitcher and our glasses. I have never been so insulted. 2) The tacos are $3 each and an insult to appetites everywhere. I have never seen a taco that tiny. 3) They don't have Taco Tuesday." [Yelp]
The Diverse Clientele News: Yelper Semra E. writes, "I really dig the entire vibe of this spot...but you know what's even better? Their beer selection & grilled fish tacos. I have been on the search for a non-fried street taco in the DC area for awhile & now I can rest easy knowing where to get my fix. The service was quick and on point (which I appreciate). The clientele here is actually a good mix of all types in terms of dress attire etc. doesn't make you feel like you have to only show up wearing one style." [Yelp]
The Fish Tacos Rave: Also on Yelp, Erica G. says, "I went to el rey on Thursday for some dinner and drinks. El Rey only gets three stars because the first tacos were AMAZING. I'm from southern cali and boy do I crave fish tacos and this certainly were just right...Now...the not so great things about el rey. It's bizarre construction that was half-inside/half outside did not properly keep the space insulated. We switched tables and in both like half of my body was freezing and the other part was just mildly uncomfortably cold. It took me FOREVER to heat up my feet once I got home." [Yelp]
The Solid Food News: Brightest Young Things has a preview which says, "The restaurant/bar/whatever something that serves quality Mexican food and drinks between two shipping containers and a retractable roof, will be the American Ice Company of the year. )...The food at El Rey isn't going to change your life. It's not supposed to. It's well-made, reasonably priced Mexican food in a city that desperately needs more well-made, reasonably priced Mexican food. Nearly all of the ingredients are made in house."
The Casual News: UrbanDaddy calls El Rey, "a great spot if you're heading to a 9:30 Club show or you're looking for any excuse to gather as casually as possible." [UD]
The Twitter Rave: Twitter user @smanthaslater says, "Loved @elrey_dc Great drinks and tacos and manager was awesome. Another great addition!"
The Recommendations: Blog Epicurean DC writes, "Executive Chef Jorge Pimentel has crafted a delicious Mexican menu with a price point everyone will appreciate...As far as tacos go, we recommend the Carne Asada (charred skirt steak, cilantro, radish, onion), Carnitas, (confit pork shoulder, cilantro, radish, onion), de Pescado (grilled fish, jicama carrot slaw, tomatillo avocado, chipotle aioli), and de Mariscos (seared squid, shrimp, pico de gallo)." [EDC]
The Long Wait News: A writer on UrbanSpoon says, "I Went to this establishment last night around 8:30 p.m.. Ordered sat for 2 hours waiting on food. The server comes back and say the kitchen is closed and the crew has left. Yep. I didn't eat. If I came in and ordered before closing time how do you not finish orders before you close? Or she could have said the kitchen was closed before she took my order and I sat for 2 hours waiting. Unacceptable service! " [US]
The Facebook Rave: James on Facebook writes, "Best fish taco en la mundo." [FB]
Another Facebook Shoutout: Marizol writes on Facebook, "I wanted a real michelada for soooo long! It was great." [FB]