The chain of Alero Tex-Mex restaurants gets comments from diners that all over the map. On one hand, the food is terrible and on the other, it’s the best Mexican food in DC. I have eaten at all three locations and will get into my opinion on the food below, but the one I will focus more on in this review is the U Street locale.

Cost – $$

Service – A
As with most neighborhoody latin restaurants, service is consistently very good. Wait staff is almost always hustling and eager to please.

Food – B-
As I stated above, there is a wide range of opinions on the food. Like with most things, I think the main reason for the differences has to do with the broad spectrum of expectations. Being from California, I have a fundamental problem paying $9.95 for a burrito which I used to get for $5.50 so initially I agreed with those who were disappointed in DC Mexican cuisine. However, I have learned to not be so harsh by staying away from ordering overpriced tacos and chimichangas and sticking to the best value on the menu – steak fajitas! Also of note are the chips and salsa which I think are the best around.

Decor – B
As background, the Dupont and Cleveland Park locations are traditional in decor while the U Street one is modern with a much larger bar area and lounge. The U Street location gets the B while the other two would get C’s. I like the modern scheme much better and most of the art reflects the jazz scene roots of the area. I sometimes find it cool that the latin and jazz art come together so well.

Feel – B+
With the large outdoor patio, it’s hard to top Alero on a warm weekday night or weekend afternoon. Alero has some pretty good happy hour specials but the crowd can be a bit much for me at times. There are also three sets of couches which do it as a lounge for some but I can’t say I really feel it. That all said, the primary reason I frequent Alero is because of the two large screen TVs at the bar. I won’t watch an important game here but I will spend time on a Sunday afternoon watching golf or baseball while reading the paper and sucking down margaritas.

Alero is located at 1301 U Street NW. They can be reached at (202) 462-2322.

What’s the Buzz:

September 27, 2007 – Alero Dupont (Washingtonian) – You’ll find all the hallmarks of a standard, guac-laden Tex-Mex menu–big platters holding burritos, chimichangas, fajitas and enchiladas–plus carne asada and pollo primavera (grilled chicken breast piled with zucchini, onions and tomatoes). On the seafood front, shrimp and scallops adorn most dishes. Full article…

Alero on Urbanspoon

5 Responses to “Alero”

  1. Jamie June 19, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    No way is Alero is the best Mexican food in DC. If you mean the best fast-food style Tex-Mex, and you’re only comparing it to Guapo’s and Lauriol Plaza, then fine. But for real mexican food, Mixtec in Adams Morgan has been around forever and is cheap and great.

    Other than that, there’s Austin Grill which is all right, but definitely a step up from Alero. More recently, a bunch of swankier places have opened, serving expensive Mexican food like Oaxaca, Rosa Mexicano, Oyamel, and (sorta) Zengo. These places are more stylish than authentic, but they’re no less authentic than tex-mex is anyway. And way better.

  2. Jiyan June 19, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    Haha – Dean, you have to admit you have a soft spot for the place. You probably think it is the best Mexican food because you normally are three-margaritas deep before you order.

  3. Dean June 19, 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    Hey Jamie – thanks for the comment. I said the salsa and chips were the best around but I agree with you about the food generally. I do have to disagree with you about Austin Grill though, but we all have our preferences. Mixtec is another place I like and the owners there are good people.

  4. Dean June 19, 2008 at 8:58 pm #

    Oh yeah, very salient point Jiyan. Margaritas makes food and the rest of the world that much better.


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