Saturday, August 25, 2007

Los Tios Grill - Del Ray, Alexandria VA

My usual stop for Mexican food in Del Ray is Taqueria Poblano. Overall, I hear mixed reviews about the location in Arlington, and more positive reviews of the Del Ray location. Our last meal (in Del Ray) was very good and I was tempted to get drawn back to my old standby, but alas my DH and I walked a little further up the Avenue to try a new place.
Los Tios is a casual Mexican and El Salvadoran restaurant located on Mount Vernon Ave., which offers indoor and seasonal outdoor seating. As we were greeted, the indoor space expanded before me as we were led into the rich Southwestern toned cantina . In front, there is a bar with a large screen tv. Two dining rooms, one behind the other, are painted with Corals and accented with turquoise. Noise bounces easily off the walls which are punctuated with Tuscan urns and large paintings evocative of a more light-hearted de Goya.
We ate early, before 6 pm (and no, my hair is not blue..yet) and were seated right away. Our waiter greeted us shortly after and took our drink orders. A basket of warm tortillas accompanied by a thick and chunky salsa arrived in shortly after.The salsa vegetables seemed fresh in the thick picante type sauce.

The wide ranging menu offers favorites such as quesadillas, chimichangas, burittos and fajitas. Combination platters with rice, beans and salads can satisfy the urge to sample a bit. Meats and seafood platters are offered with a range of finishes from tequilla (Camerones el Cantinero) to their home style bbq sauce (Castillas Barbacoa).
I ordered the Pollo Mexicano. The thinly pounded chicken breast and shrimp were topped with a fresh salsa consisting of red onions, diced fresh tomatoes, cilantro and parsley The salsa was dressed with a bit of lime and perhaps olive oil. Accompanying the chicken and shrimp were white rice and steamed broccoli which retained a verdant color and crunch. On the side, I was served black bean soup. The soup had a nice broth with a hint of cumin. It was enjoyable, if a bit on the salty side.
Frank, my DH, had the Carne Asada Salvadorena . The skirt steak had a nice char, but not too much as to overpower the flavor of the steak. While not melt in you mouth tender (well, no skirt steak is), it was easy to chew. His yellow rice was combined with lima beans and corn, and sat beside refried beans. The thousand island dressed salad was basic but saved by seasonal ripe tomatoes and fresh avocado. On the side were 2 steaming tortilla which toughened as they sat absorbing moisture underneath the linen napkin they were presented with.
Both main dishes were light and clearly made with fresh ingredients where vegetables and herbs are concerned. The fresh and healthier ingredients left us feeling good that we did not weigh our meal down with cheese and sour cream. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We do “south of the border” runs from time to time. Don’t judge us……..
Overall the service was very friendly. A salsa and chip refill came before we finished our first complimentary serving. My lemonade was also refilled quickly.
As we departed, we were sent on our way by the staff who thanked us warmly and held the door open as we left. It was a family friendly feeling. Speaking of family, there were many children of all ages, and highchairs were available.
Noise can be a factor if you want intimate conversation.
We opted to walk off a bit of dinner to get to dessert at The Dairy Godmother. More on that later!
Overall Frank and I thought Los Tios was an inviting cantina serving a variety of Hispanic dishes (abeit "Americanized" for the most part) with good service at a moderate price point. Dinner for two including 2 entrees, one margarita and one lemonade came to about $37 before tip.
We'll be back!

Location- 2625 Mount Vernon Ave
Alexandria, Va. 22310
Map it!
Powder your nose
- The ladies room was a large, clean single bathroom with a diaper changing table.
Credit cards - yes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOVE the review---makes ME want to go------------as a matter of fact---I think I will! ;-)