The chef’s chief recollections of Canada were being about the circumstances exterior the restaurant, not inside it. “I just obtained drained of the cold,” he suggests. “It’s mad cold.”
Gomez was not completely ready for yet another wintertime north of the border. Aside from, he had a sweet gig at El Balcon, a effectively-regarded rooftop restaurant with sweeping sights of the Plaza de la Constitución, the key general public sq. in Mexico Town. He was top a workforce that recognized couple of boundaries, combining European and pre-Columbian substances and strategies for this sort of playful dishes as huitlacoche risotto, octopus carpaccio and an avocado tlayuda with escamoles.
But then Voskuil made his pitch: He invited Gomez to pay a visit to D.C., if only to demonstrate to the chef that you never will need an instruction manual on how to costume for winter in Washington. It turned out to be a sensible transfer: For the duration of his vacation, Gomez realized he could truly be of provider. He could inject a minimal CDMX street meals veracity into our taco scene, which he identified lacking.
This is how, in the conclusion, Voskuil persuaded Gomez — a chef formally skilled at El Colegio Remarkable de Gastronomia and a man without the need of any experienced working experience generating tacos — to run his taqueria in an Alexandria strip centre. The owner gave Gomez the keys to the kitchen at Taqueria Picoso and permit him run it like a avenue vendor with high-quality-eating sensibilities.
The beauty of Gomez’s initiatives — and those of his team, which include sous chef Isaac Ramirez, also from Mexico Town — is that the crew doesn’t desire you cease and ooh and aah above their creations, like some 4-star chef hovering above your desk, aching for a compliment. You can savor their tacos in full ignorance of the volume of work that goes into them. I’m not arguing that happy, mindless snarfing is behavior worthy of celebrating, but it’s more in line with the avenue-food items ethos that co-entrepreneurs Voskuil and wife Lynn Umemoto have embraced.
Consider, for illustration, the al pastor tacos at Picoso. A great deal of taquerias use a vertical spit to prepare dinner their marinated pork — Las Gemelas in the Union Market place District La Placita in Hyattsville and La Jarochita No. 2 in Arlington spring to thoughts — but none purpose for the cross-cultural traditionalism of Gomez’s edition. He wanted an al pastor that compensated homage to the taco’s Lebanese roots, so his marinade features sweeter elements, like cinnamon, which coats two unique cuts of pork right before they’re layered on to a spit and roasted. His al pastor taco may perhaps be long gone in 3 bites, but they are 3 glorious bites.
As with Las Gemelas, the kitchen at Picoso will make its very own masas, dependent on yellow, blue and white corn varieties grown in the central valleys of Oaxaca. Gomez and his crew never push the masa by hand, a method far too laborious for a hectic restaurant. As an alternative, they depend on a equipment, which stamps out golden, completely round tortillas with the scent of sweet corn. Now, I understand tortilla thickness is particular. Some like them as sheer as silk, like people tortillas at El Sol. Some others favor a sturdier foundation, like individuals at Picoso, in which the tortillas have heft, which points out why just about every taco is wrapped in only a solitary layer.
As a great deal as I like the tall-grass fragrance of Picoso’s tortillas, I obtain that their thickness can, on celebration, serve as a wet blanket, smothering fillings that the kitchen has so meticulously well prepared. This is specially accurate with the if not superb vegan chorizo taco packed with roasted potatoes, beans, avocado and chihuahua cheese. Other preparations, like the lamb barbacoa and cochinita pibil, stand up better to tortillas, even though I need to confess that the cumbersome wrappers frequently gum up the will work, generating for big, chewy bites. These fillings should have a delivery technique with a minor extra delicacy.
You are going to come across no these difficulties with the Baja shrimp and fish tacos, each of which are swaddled in flour tortillas. Both are also between my favored orders at Picoso. The fish taco is especially motivated, pairing a length of fried cod with avocado, jalapeños, cilantro and a kale-and-tomato salad. The chunk is then completed with a velvet hammer: a jalapeno-cucumber dressing. This taco is just locked down.
Tacos may be the primary attraction right here, but other dishes have grabbed my awareness, far too. Common or not, Gomez’s Sonoran incredibly hot dog will for good be the regular by which I choose all other individuals. His bacon-wrapped pet is smothered in housemade frijols charros, this black-gap condiment of pinto beans, chorizo, bacon and additional. It will suck you in. His crab tostadas, on fried blue-corn tortillas, are the counterpoint to the dog: new, cleanse, crackly. And if I’ve experienced a much better elote than Gomez’s variation, a grilled cob dusted with two shades of roasted red pepper, I simply cannot remember it.
Tucked into the Retailers at Mark Centre, on the similar strip as a Subway and McDonald’s, Taqueria Picoso has a far more Do it yourself aesthetic than its company neighbors, many thanks to Umemoto who stitched together the inside with jeweled mirrors, corrugated metal and loteria wallpaper. She also assisted style and design the logo, a hungry riff on an Aztec god, which offers the taqueria a unique vibe completely: A person that feels completely ready to replicate alone.
Really do not be amazed if Umemoto and Voskuil open far more Taqueria Picosos. It seems to be a element of their company strategy. So does a thing else: As the entrepreneurs achieve the “twilight of our careers,” as the 62-calendar year-previous Voskuil describes it, they’re looking to the working day when they’ll provide the business enterprise. They by now have people in brain as the future-generation proprietors. One of them happens to be the fine-dining chef from Mexico Town who served make Taqueria Picoso.
Several hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday by way of Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Charges: $2 to $80 for all objects on the menu, together with family-style meals.