Last Updated: April 2023
A foundational piece of the excellent mini-empire of Mexican spots from Jessica and Alfredo Solis, Mezcalero now has its original location in Columbia Heights and a bright corner in La Cosecha’s main hall. The menu overlaps with the more seafood-oriented spots Anafre and Mariscos 1133, but it is a touch more casual. The casual setting, however is a bit of a head fake. The quality and consistency of the food across all the Solis restaurants is on par or surpassing many fine dining establishments.
Ceviches are a great way to start, with just enough spice and citrus to bring your tongue alive without it being overwhelming. Mezcalero was premised on highlighting street food dishes. The Columbia Heights locations has tacos, but La Cosecha location has only one on the menu (perhaps a non-compete clause with Las Gemelas). Setting aside tacos, they have sandwiches – tortas and Pambazos (potatoes, chorizo and dipped in guajillo sauce, queso fresco and sour cream). They also have enchiladas, quesadillas, stews and fajitas (we confess to only having scratched the surface of the menu). This is the kind of place where what sounds good to you, probably will be good. With a large menu there is always a risk of a dud, but there is a better chance it will be surprisingly good. They are not sparing on portions. Come hungry, but you still might leave with leftovers.
As the name implies, mezcal and mixed drinks are featured. A tall glass of the aqua fresca of the day is an excellent non-alcoholic choice. The food may come quickly from the kitchen, but no need to rush.
Other Guidance: The Columbia Heights location is in an old building at street level with no steps. La Cosecha is a modern building with parking and street-level access (though some entrances have steps down) with bathrooms located on the main level. GF can do well. There are a few vegetable-based dishes, but the bulk of the menu is seafood and meat. So, a great spot for pescatarians.
Columbia Heights: 3714 14th Street NW, Washington DC
Union Market (La Cosecha): 1280 4th Street NE, Washington DC, 20002
Washington Post: Tim’s very positive review from 2017. Mezcalero and El Sol tacos have shown up on best of lists. A piece on the magic of “tacos de canasta.”
Washingtonian: Cheap Eats in 2017; 2018; 2019. 30 Best Taco Places in Washington to Satisfy a Fix. The families behind D.C.’s best Mexican spots.
Rick Eats DC: Highlighting four different Mexican spots, calling it good choice for tacos, better for posole, less-so for the mole.