Uno, dos, tres, tequila. Uno, dos, tres, floor. Oh, Cinco de Mayo. The faux holiday eagerly celebrated by Americans that has no historical significance in Mexico whatsoever. This perfectly timed spring holiday allows Washingtonians the excuse to head to patios and rooftops to drink tequila and eat tacos in celebration.
But, hey, it’s a good marketing ploy. And while I do love a good holiday to break up the monotony, the last thing I want to do is fight the crowds for $5 margaritas while drunk jerks elbow me at the bar.
Thus, I was thrilled when I received an invite to a Cinco de Mayo tasting dinner at Commissary. It was a Monday, after all, and a catch-up dinner with a friend sounded like a far better option than yelling over the masses at a Mexican spot. Commissary is a fairly priced, neighborhood gathering place known for reliable, delicious American café and bar food. The Chef, as it turns out, also does a pretty solid Mexican dinner.
We sat at communal tables at the back of the restaurant, so you weren’t alienated from the hustle-and-bustle of the restaurant and also made new friends by the second tequila cocktail. The three-course dinner with tequila pairings was priced at an incredibly affordable $30 for the food, of $40 for the meal with drink pairings. The representative from the tequila company was on-hand to walk us through the cocktails and the Chef popped out to explain his creations, too.
We began with a healthy chicken and pork soup, the Pozole Rojo, with mojo marinated and braised pork shoulder, white hominy, napa cabbage. It was paired with an iced, smoky pineapple tequila cocktail, made with Don Amado Anejo Tequila, Sweet Vermouth, Blood Orange Bitters, Grilled Caramelized Pineapple Cube. This was the Old Fashioned of tequila cocktails, and was incredibly strong, but smoky, and flavorful.
The next cocktail was more feminine, a hibiscus sour cocktail, with dried Hibiscus flowers and Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila. It was paired with beef flautas, slow roasted beef and chilis rolled into a crispy flour tortilla, served wih sour cream, queso fresco, and spicy tomatillo and ancho salsa.
Next up, the shrimp ceviche—made with onions, tomato, lime, cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic—was served with crispy plantain chips for dipping and a shot of Don Amado Reposado Tequila with a low ball of Modelo Especial cerveza. This basically reminded me of many beachside days in Mexico and Central America, where you quite literally have ceviche, cerveza, and tequila with your toes in the water and toosh in the sand.
The main course and the dessert were our favorite dishes. For our entrée, the Pork Mole , an ancho-spiced pork tenderloin, served oth fried yucca, and a 100-spice mole poblano.
Of course, we concluded with a typical caramel flan served with a coffee-tequila-whipped cream shot. A sucker for sugar, this dessert was too tempting to turn down, despite the fact my brain as already hazy and my tummy already full.
Commissary will be hosting more tasting dinners in the future, and we’re excited to see what they come up with. We’ll keep you posted. Check out our brunch review, here, and download the restaurant’s new Breakfast Club rewards/loyalty app by searching “Commissary DC” in the iTunes App store. Commissary, 1418 P St. N.W., Washington, D.C.