District Taco: 5723 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207; (703) 237-1204; https://www.districttaco.com
We don’t review a lot of chains and weren’t planning to review this one. But we passed the location on Lee Highway in Yorktown, and didn’t have a lot of food in the house. Also, DT is kind of interesting because it started life as a food truck in the area (like Tortas y Tacos la Chiquita). So we gave it a try.
We get the three-tacos-for-$8 deal: two chicken and one shredded beef. You can choose either yellow-corn or flour tortillas. The corn tortillas, being thinner, are double-wrapped. We order those, with “American Way” toppings (lettuce, pico and cheese) and guacamole. District serves only soft tacos — no crispy, hard shells here, because that’s not how they roll in the Yucatán. There’s a salsa bar, so while we wait, we fill a few plastic tins with Colorado (red and spicy) sauce, tomatillo (green and mild), and green peppers & onions.
Most surfaces here seem like they could use a good wipe-down, but a little splattered hot sauce isn’t going to hurt anyone.
The place is starting to fill up at the beginning of rush hour, but service is fast. The food looks and tastes very fresh, as expected since they say everything is homemade daily. That said, we’re not real crazy about the texture of the yellow-corn tortillas. They’re good at keeping moist taco ingredients wrapped up, even though they’re quite thin, because their texture is relatively coarse. Next time we’ll try the flour option and also order some nachos to use as scoops.
The chicken could use a couple dashes of salt, so season away, and the shredded beef is delicious. Seems like beef tacos usually beat chicken on taste. The guacamole is a nice touch, very creamy, and the Colorado sauce has plenty of kick. It balances out the mild guacamole and vegetable toppings.
District offers two sauces that are rated spicier than the Colorado: Mestizo and Habanero. The latter is apparently so hot that it’s not even available at the salsa bar, only upon request — probably so that they can issue a warning with it and control the portion size. We recently had a bad experience with a bottle of Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce that poured too quickly; so for now, we needn’t go any hotter than Mestizo, if that.
We don’t order it, but the Kids Meal seems to be one of the best deals in town: a taco or quesadilla with a side of beans and rice or chips, plus a kid-sized drink, for five bucks. For that matter, our three tacos for eight bucks is a good deal, too. As for specials, grilled-fish tacos are available four days a week (Sunday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday) and sauteed-shrimp tacos on Mon and Thurs. It’s not clear what they have against Wednesday.
It’s notable for the freshness of the ingredients, quick service and low prices for the size of the portions you get. Looking forward to trying out more menu options: “Jefe Way” with extra barbacoa and pinto beans.