BYT loved 1905. In addition to including it in our Seal the Deal Date Guide and Outdoor Drinking Guide, it hosted our annual Beaujolaid party. We drank a lot of bad wine and it was a lot of good times. But 1905 closed in November. Cortez opens today.
While no restaurant wants to be compared to its predecessor, it’s difficult not to think about 1905 when entering Cortez. The restaurant saw massive changes to Shaw over the last decade and Cortez wouldn’t exist without those changes. Owner Ryan C. Seelbach also happens to own TAKODA Restaurant & Beer Garden and a Shaw resident. The success of TAKODA led to the opening of Cortez.
Cortez is brighter than 1905, both the outside and interior. The brown building is now white. The inside walls are now white. The intentionally old lighting is now intentionally new lighting.
The look is different. So is the feel. 1905 was a sit down restaurant. Cortez is still a sit down restaurant but it won’t have waiters, just a bar staff and runners. You’ll order at the bar, take a number and your food will be delivered to your table. It’s somewhere between sit down and fast casual.
The menu is tacos, elotes, chips, guac and salsa. That’s it. This photo is all of the food available at Cortez.
It’s not a bad thing. Limited has its advantages. If you don’t want tacos, don’t go to Cortez. You may just want a cocktail. This photo is of the almost all of the cocktails available at Cortez (A frozen margarita from the Kelvin Slush Co. will be offered on the roof. More on the roof soon.).
If you’re going with a group, order the entire menu. If you’re going with one person we liked the beer batter fish taco and the cochinita pibil taco (all the tacos are $5). The Balandra Bowl, meant for two, is the bluest drink on the menu and most likely will be the most popular.
One of the reasons we liked 1905 was the roof bar. Cortez has the same roof bar, it’s just a lot more colorful. Similar to TAKODA, once it’s nice outside, the roof will be packed. When it’s packed you’ll be able to order from the bar and get beer from a separate seller.
The murals by San Francisco artist Cameron “Camer1” Moberg are a nice touch and the art you’ll be seeing on Instagram. The woman indoors, the stairs to roof messages and the garage door butterfly wings help distinguish the new from the old.
Cortez will not be in our Seal the Deal Date Guide, but it’s good for a blind date and it’s good for groups. It’s much more casual than 1905. It’ll definitely be included in our Outdoor Drinking Guide. It’s a good addition to 9th Street, a nice, bright place to eat tacos and drink margaritas with friends. Once the weather is nice, the roof will be packed and your Instagram feeds will be full of people with butterfly wings.
Cortez, 1905 9th St. NW, will be open Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.