Photos By Andy DelGiudice, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
Bloomingdale is becoming more like Columbia Heights. Some of you are upset because I’ve equated a former up-and-coming neighborhood with a current up-and-coming neighborhood and that’s just crazy. Every neighborhood is a special, unique snowflake that could never possibly be duplicated. Or the opposite. It’s the opposite. El Camino is making Bloomingdale more of a liveable neighborhood and that’s a good thing.
Located a few doors down from Boundary Stone and across the street from Showtime, El Camino is the Mexican food joint ever neighborhood deserves. (Kinda like how El Chuco is a half-block away from Meridian Pint and The Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights.) El Camino serves L.A. style Mexican food, has a few quality beers on tap and a few must-try cocktails.
Since quietly opening in November, the restaurant/bar has been pleasing neighborhood residents with affordable, quality tacos (a highlight is the chicken tinga but everyone in the group I was with had a different favorite, which is good when there are 7 different types of tacos on the menu) and drinks from head bartender Mick Perrigo. The highlight is the Cucumber Margarita, made with tequila, house made cucumber syrup, lime and basil oil drops. It’s smooth and goes down like delicious cough syrup. That is a compliment.
El Camino has three distinct dining areas. The front room is for a quicker bite, the middle of the restaurant is the bar, a good place for drinks and small plates, and the back is ideal for a meal-meal. If you’re in a rush, we recommend the tacos and the El Camino Margarita in the front. If you’re on your way to dance at Showtime and need something small, try the empanaditas and To Kill A Mule (Sauza Blue, homemade jalapeno-ginger beer) in the bar. For those staying for an entire meal, order the braised pork shoulder and a DC Brau on draft.
Beginning this weekend El Camino will offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. They also have a two happy hours (Monday through Friday 5-7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to close) and late night tacos Sunday through Thursday 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.