By Punch Preview Correspondent Lindsey Clark
Just in time for summer, Chef extraordinaire (not to mention author and entrepreneur) Todd English has officially opened the doors of his latest restaurant, MXDC. At the opening celebrations last night, the space that formerly housed Galileo III was packed with people who came out to see, be seen, indulge in some of the celebrity chef’s small plates and hand-crafted libations, and to check out the beautiful and open design of English’s second DC venture.
Situated right next to the Hamilton at 600 14th St NW, MXDC offers a fantastic menu and we were treated to some samplings – I don’t actually want to tell you about everything I tasted because it would be publicly admitting to eating A LOT of food, but I will say the mahi mahi tacos are DIVINE (they are baja beer battered and topped with grilled pineapple salsa and jalepeno – what’s not to love?) and I probably ate more than my fair share of guacamole. Although MXDC offers a variety of styles of everyone’s favorite dip (like the Azul guacamole, which has blue cheese and bacon), my favorite had to be the one with crab meat (why on earth have I never thought of that?!?), grapefruit, serano chile and rosemary – believe me, it is not to be missed. Also a stand out for me was the beet ceviche, which was served with blue cheese, ginger, and jalapeno (aka heaven on a plate). I am so used to seeing beets served with goat cheese that blue cheese never really crossed my mind, but the combination is pretty stellar. The cuatro queso fundido disappeared almost as soon as it hit the tables (I am totally innocent, I swear!), and the cheeses – a blend of oaxaca, chihuahua, cotija and fresco – would have melted in your mouth had they not already been served melted in miniature iron skillets. Even though last night’s event was a reception and we didn’t see the dishes as they would normally be plated, the presentation was as impressive as any dinner service I’ve been to.
Everything I tried had just the right amount of sweetness balanced out with a little bit of a kick – including the hibiscus margarita. It’s not for every palate, but if you’re a fan of smokier flavors, this is the drink for you. The crowd – which got bigger as the evening went on – kept the bartenders busy pouring champagne, wine, beer, and specialty drinks all night, and English was on hand to greet his guests and toast to a successful opening. I have no doubt MXDC will be a popular spot – aside from English’s reputation, head chef J.C. Pavlovich promises to be a big draw, given his appearances on Iron Chef America – and the innovative menu and great location will easily keep the seats filled.
MXDC Cocina Mexicana opens today for dinner service (no info is listed on their website about how to make reservations, but you can try calling the restaurant at 202.393.1900). Go for the guacamole. Go for the beet ceviche. Just make sure you get there.
As the Punch Premiere Correspondent, Lindsey covers all things music and theater related. When not writing for Pamela’s Punch, Lindsey has a seriously sweet gig as Executive Assistant at the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (www.pcah.gov). Aside from writing and seeing as much live music as possible, you can usually find her on a running trail, in front of a painting, staring at her dog, Lincoln, or hanging out with her big sister and fellow Punch Correspondent Niki Clark. Follow her on twitter @lindseykayclark. Contact Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.