El Chucho, on booming 11th Street in Columbia Heights, serves delicious Mexican street food and drinks with a neighborhood ambiance. The space, with a cozy, kitschy dining room decorated in a 1960s border-town vibe plus a covered rooftop patio.
El Chucho serves traditional Mexican food in small plates – no cheese-smothered combos here. I always get the elote (street corn) which is grilled and covered in Mexican cheese, aioli, cilantro and herbs. Tacos come with traditional ingredients like grilled steak or chicken or more unusual items (to American tastes) like lengua – beef tongue.
The huitlacoche pollo flautas are interesting and delicious too – they’re fried, rolled tacos filled with chicken covered in huitlacoche, a type of corn fungus sometimes called Mexican truffle, which gives it a delicious, smoky flavor. Also of note are the tortas, or Mexican sandwiches – the torta ahogada is pork covered in salsa, and it’s so messy they give you gloves.
El Chucho is also a good spot for drinks – I’m a big fan of the $ 5 house “El Codo” margarita. All of their cocktail ingredients are house made and delicious, and the rotating list sometimes includes a really good Blue Hawaiian with house-made blue Curacao. They also have a massive list of tequila and mezcal and they make their own fruit syrups to add to margaritas: I enjoyed the blackberry poblano.
There’s also some good happy hour deals for tacos and drinks plus a covered and enclosed roof deck, good for chilly nights.