Before watching the new M Night Shyamalan film down in Georgetown I decided to go and grab a quick bite to eat on the waterfront. I had tried just about every restaurant down in the waterfront area except for Cabanas so I figured it would be a good place. I got there at around 7PM or so and was seated immediately on the front patio, which afforded a nice view of the waterfront fountain. A cool breeze was coming in off the Potomac, moderating what would have otherwise been a somewhat warm Friday evening.

Cost – $$$
I normally don’t go into depth discussing price but you are really paying for the location at this restaurant (as is the case with all the restaurants on the waterfront I suppose). I was fully expecting entrées to be between $20 – $30 but was a little surprised that the moderately-sized margaritas were upwards of $11. Okay – enough whining.

Service – C
I guess they were somewhat slammed but our server didn’t bring us any water and we didn’t really see him from the time he took our initial order to the time he came to leave the check. He was relatively polite but I could tell he was slammed. I think they could staff-up a bit to make sure that every customer has more than two touch-points during the meal.

Food – B+
I had the free range chicken with yucca fries and was not disappointed. Again, 25% of the cost of the entrées is for the location of the venue so I’m not sure the quality matches the pricing exactly (I’m sure there are loads of restaurants to get more authentic and tastier Latin dishes) – but overall the food was definitely solid. Even though I whined earlier about the price of the margaritas I have to admit they packed a nice little punch. I was actually going to give the place a ‘B’ but due to the fact that they had my favorite hot sauce (made with habañeros) gives them a slight boost.

Decor – B+
Cabanas has a nice upscale Mexican venue feel to it. For some peculiar reason the word “willowy” springs to mind when describing the interior.

Feel – B+
After the week I had, sitting on the Cabanas patio with a margarita in-hand was precisely the cure I needed to relax. I enjoyed my experience there and probably would rate Cabanas as one of the better dining experiences on the waterfront. They have a salsa night as well that I can imagine would be a blast.

Cabanas is down at the waterfront at 3050 K Street. They can be reached at (202) 944-4242.

What’s the Buzz:

November 27, 2007 – Cabanas Restaurant Review (Washingtonian) – Owned by the group that runs waterfront restaurants Tony & Joe’s and Nick’s Riverside Grill, this bar and restaurant offers a nuevo Latino menu that’s a mishmash of Spanish and South and Central American influences. On the Tex-Mex side are enchiladas, nachos loaded with guacamole, plus fajitas and chimichangas. Full article…

Cabanas on Urbanspoon

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