Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pepita Cantina - Not Just Margaritas

Pepita Cantina
4000 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22203
I'm a fan of small restaurants. I find that that when you aim small, you miss small, which means that you're more likely to place your shots in the ten-ring. Pepita exemplifies that philosophy. It's a small place, with a small menu, but it's a bulls-eye.
Start out with the guacamole. Smooth, yet chunky. Home-made thick chips that don't break when you scoop the guac, and plenty of flavor.
Tacos are the main lunch fare here. I tried three including the smoked carnitas, the cabra diabla, and the taco de lengua. The cabra and lengua were my favorites. The tongue (lengua) was super-tender and flavorful, while the cabra, which is goat, had a sophisticated heated finish. No quick burn here, just a smooth, enjoyable heat. The smoked carnitas was good as well, but the other two provided the unique flavors I've come to know, expect, and love from Mike Isabella Concepts.
Here's a shot of the chunky Tuna Ceviche.
The quesadilla was a thing of beauty as well. Great flavors with a lingering heat.
Behind me was the bar, though I was here for lunch so there was no boozing. You can tell Taha Ismail is at work here with his well-laid out tinctures and bitters. He's one of the best in the business and it always shows through. Be sure to grab one of the specialty cocktails if you stop in.

Overall impressions: It's a great place to grab lunch, but I'm sure it's an even better place to go with friends and get your tequila going. WaPo said come for the drinks. I say go for the food. It's good, and it's a good value. You won't be sorry.
If you go, tell them you read about it on Pleasures of the Table!
Thanks for reading.