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El Rey, Washington DC

As a Southern California resident, quality street tacos are as easy to come by as the corner Starbucks. On the East Coast, finding a spot to watch the Chargers game AND throw back a few tacos (or five) proved surprisingly easy – thanks Eater DC! Expecting the caliber of El Rey’s Mexican food to match my San Diegan palette however, proved otherwise.

Situated on U Street, just before it turns into Florida Ave., El Rey is casual and inviting as you pass through the colorful Tetris of shipping containers that make up the front door. The containers permeate through the open-air space, which is accented by Moravian stars (which is what they’re really called after Googling “Mexican star decoration”) and strung lights above.

It was Fall during my two visits to El Rey, and I preferred to sit where one of the overhead heat lamps seared my skin while I sipped on a Margarita watching yet another Chargers loss. And well, that’s as good as it gets at El Rey.

I had an uncharacteristically sweet carne asada in my breakfast burrito during my first visit. On my second, the vegetarian tamale I ordered at the recommendation of my attentive bartender was served undercooked. Mushy masa…ew.

You’re better off sipping a beverage and watching the game on the big screen toward the back of the restaurant, or at one of the four smaller screens placed throughout the space.