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Although standby dishes remain, the second El Centro promises to be more than a carbon copy of the 14th Street NW location. Chef Juan Romero, who’s worked at El Centro since it first opened in May of 2011, traveled around Mexico with Sandoval in order to create new items for the Georgetown location. Romero says one of the new dishes he’s most excited about is his “Vuelve a la Vida” entrée with octopus, shrimp, chorizo, and tomatillo salsa.
Regional beverage director Robert Day put together a drink menu with over 225 tequilas, 45 mezcals, at least 10 house-infused tequilas, and a variety of frozen and regular margaritas. From this sprawling selection, Day recommends the house-infused pineapple and habanero tequila. (The occasions for such a spirit include “waking up and going to bed,” according to Day.) Tastings for three selections from the tequila menu generally range from $18 to $32. For the really good stuff, a premium tasting costs $75.
Tucked up Wisconsin Avenue, the El Centro’s two-story building fills the hole left behind by the now-defunct Third Edition, which closed earlier this year after more than 40 years of business. The space can seat 158 people inside, plus 55 more on its secluded outdoor patio. Still, it seems that the building’s origins won’t be completely forgotten; Irican promises a few “minor nostalgic winks for fans of Thirds,” such as a circled “3” on the second floor.
The restaurant plans to serve lunch and dinner, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 2 a.m. during weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. During the week, the restaurant offers a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m every day. On weekends, the restaurant will offer bottomless brunch; late nights (11 p.m. to 2 a.m.), look for a special street food-inspired menu with every menu item priced at $6.
El Centro D.F., 1218 Wisconsin Avenue NW; (202) 333-4100; elcentrodf.com
Photo by Megan Arellano