All words and photos by Shauna Alexander
Mama Chuy’s is not your average mom and pop taqueria, ladies and gentlemen. It’s better! (And now features brunch!!)
Recently opened and fully operated by brother/sister team, Joe & Dinora Orozco, Mama Chuy‘s is a much needed addition to the Columbia Heights-U Street neighborhood. Armed with recipes passed down for generations, Chef Joe’s main goal is to continually provide flavorful food, with basics jazzed up by locally sourced seasonal products. While authenticity is ever-important, at Mama Chuy’s, there is always room for creativity and reinvention without losing sight of true Mexican flavors. And as if dining on this great food all the time wasn’t enough of a reason to swing by the cosy Georgia Avenue spot, they are now serving brunch (the first weekend of every month) — WHICH MEANS THIS SUNDAY YOUR BRUNCH PLANS ARE SOLVED.
While the menu options were expansive, I left it up to Chef Joe to dazzle me with his favorites and DAZZLE he did! As a lover of spice and food with bold flavors, I found the sopes (Huevo Ranchero en Sope, Sope de Chorizo and the Sope de Rajasa con Queso) to pack the perfect punch with each bite. The Sopes at first sight they look like an unusually thick tortilla, with the base being made from a circle of fried masa of ground maize soaked in lime with pinched sides to hold whatever yummy toppings you choose. They are traditionally sized, so I’d suggest ordering two of three (to share, even) before diving into one of the many main courses. My favorite ? The Huervo Ranchero en Sope, which features an egg sunny side up. Add a dash of their green chili sauce and I could truly each this dish day in and day out for the rest of my life. Vegetarian options are a plenty too! As mentioned above, the Sope de Rajas con Queso features rajas, or poblano strips, that are fire-roasted and hand-peeled and then topped with Chihuahua cheese… perfect for a herbivore.
But really, the highlight of the menu was the Chile Renello Enmolado, a poblano pepper with Chihuahua cheese filling, coated in an egg batter. Pan-fried then toasted and served with our Mole a la Veracruzana [Veracruz style Mole], a side of Mexican rice and a bit of Mexican-style sour cream. The Chile was intimidating at first, but after my fork and knife struck up the courage to dig in — I couldn’t have been more surprised. Gooey, delicious cheese oozed out of the center and begged to be consumed (proving that, yes, cheese is the greatest food product ever). And normally I’m not a fan of mole, but Chef Joe hits on just the right amount of balance between the flavors. I’m pretty sure I licked the entire plate clean before I even had a sip of the delicious house-made Margarita I was offered…. which says something ifyouknowwhatImean. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, FOR REALS.
So be sure to swing by Mama Chuy’s this weekend and feast on delicious dishes at super afforable prices. They’ve even got a full (tiny) bar downstairs, which should make drinking off your last night’s mistake all the easier.