With its Instagram-ready queso fundido skillet, six new tacos, and giant group cocktails, Mission Navy Yard is ready to woo a younger set inside the 10,000-square-foot restaurant next to Nationals Park.
“Millennials eat with their eyes,” Mission Navy Yard general manager Charlie Idol told Eater. “They see a picture like, they want to have that food. It’s not just about, ‘They made this, they made that,’ it’s the experience attached to what they’re doing and the story.”
The cavernous two-story Mexican restaurant (1221 Van Street SE) rushed to open in time for Major League Baseball’s All-Star game on Saturday, July 14 with a limited menu and plans to unleash its full lineup throughout August under executive chef Roberto Hernández’s watch.
Three entrees to watch out for include salmon with red mole, spring onions and potato hash; short ribs with chocolate black mole; and green chicken Milanese encrusted with Corn Flakes and served with Basmati rice.
The nostalgic Kellogg’s breakfast cereal makes other appearances on the menu. Fried ice cream is also rolled in macadamia nuts, seasoned with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and served with salted caramel. There’s also a daily fried local fish taco encrusted in Corn Flakes, along with jicama and napa cabbage slaw, spicy pepitas, and blistered serrano chile tartar sauce.
“I just think that Corn Flakes are more exciting than just bread crumbs,” says Hernández, who who cooked at Miami’s now-shuttered Blue Door at the Delano hotel and Barton G restaurants. “It also results in a more crunchy bite.”
There’s naturally a big focus on booze, with 16 draft lines featured at each of its four bars. Idol dubs drinks the “lifeline” of the 10,000-square-foot restaurant.
Two new quick-serve draft cocktails include the Tropical Margarita ($12) with Avión silver, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, pineapple juice, mango juice, and fresh-squeezed lime juice and the Tito’s Lemonade ($10) with mint-infused simple syrup, Tito’s, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. “It’s a huge hit,” says Idol.
Within the next couple of weeks, they’ll add another cocktail called Tequila Mockingbird, made with habañero-infused tequila and mixed with blood orange and simple syrup. The team is also developing another specialty drink and a shared cocktail for four. Some 50 tequilas line the homegrown restaurant, which also scored its own beer called Dos — an exclusive brew from local producer DC Brau.
Boozy brunch will enter the mix come mid-August. Hernández and his team aim to import the new items at its Dupont Circle sister spot by October.
Meanwhile, Mission Navy Yard is bringing over some top sellers from the debut Dupont location, including the Mission quesadillas, nachos volcán, Mission margarita, and strawberry basil margarita, as well as spins on Dupont’s Cadillac margarita and Mission paloma.
Millennials are even being targeted in the bathroom stalls. The team installed a high-tech neon lighting system around mirrors that can be changed by an app. One option for college-themed buyouts: coordinating colors with the guests’ alma mater.
- The Most Anticipated Restaurants in D.C., Summer 2018 [EDC]
- Belly Up to D.C.’s Whopping New 150-Foot Bar This July [EDC]
- New law means Washington, D.C. bars can open early, close late for World Cup, MLB All-Star game [Sbnation]
- Margarita Mecca Mission Spreads to Navy Yard [EDC]
- Navy Yard’s New Mexican Bar Gets Its Own DC Brau Beer [EDC]