4 stars

Having had the most phenomenal spring break in Mexico — no, not the quintessential Cancun hoorah, but rather in the wonderful Ciudad de Mexico — and sampling its delightful cuisine, I thought that it was only necessary to taste the offerings on this side of the border. When my father and sister visited, we made a reservation at RosaMexicano, located across the street from Verizon Center. Chipotle and Qdoba would certainly not cut it.

After walking past tables sprawled on the street, we strolled inside. Rosa Mexicano certainly seemed to be a swanky and classy affair. The restaurant was divided into three main sections and had dim lighting, which created a chic atmosphere. However, the ambience was by no means intimate and reservations did not seem necessary.

When we took our seats and scanned the menu, I noticed how extensive it was and I felt quite savvy when I recognized some of the enjoyable dishes that I had eaten in Mexico. However, I wanted to venture out of my comfort zone and try something original.

As my father and sister ordered tacos, I opted for steak and shrimp accompanied by a crispy arugula salad and garlic fries. I asked for the spiciness to be tempered so didn’t receive any sauce when my entree arrived. The skirt steak was succulent, cooked to medium-rare (upon the chef’s recommendation) and bursting with flavor. The shrimp were a good supplement and the garlic fries were out of this world. With the shape of one’s ideal McDonald’s fry, the garlic added a real twang.

The steak tacos that my father and sister had ordered were polished off before I could even get a look in, but I gather they were pretty good. The corn tortillas were on the slightly thick side and didn’t come with any salsa. My sister, a bit of a fussy eater, allowed me to sample her chicken tacos. I must say that they were delicious. Flavored with ancho chilis, cumin and other seasonings, the chicken was juicy and tasty. It came smothered in a Chihuahua cheese sauce and accompanied with sweet corn and refried black beans, all of which combined perfectly.

The attentive and slick service added to the positive experience. Our waiter, from Peru, was very knowledgable and extremely efficient, topping off drinks before they were finished.

All in all, Rosa Mexicano was an enjoyable dining experience. Although obviously no match for the real deal, the food was delicious and sumptuous, the service was top-notch and the restaurant was atmospheric. However, the high price of Rosa Mexicano makes half-price Mondays at Qdoba that much more appealing.

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