Yesterday was Sunday Funday and G & I decided to meet up to talk business and have brunch. We’re HUGE fans of the unlimited brunch at Masa 14 but wanted to try something new.
That brought us two doors down, to El Centro DF at 1819 14th St., which just so happens to be owned by the same restaurant group as Masa and has a comparable brunch offering of all you can eat and drink for $35.
The dining area, with it’s retractable roof and wooden ceiling fans and decor, was perfect for the gorgeous weather we had in DC yesterday!
Brunch diners have two options, order selections a la cart or go for the unlimited drink & food option. Naturally Gina & I went unlimited; you get more bang for your buck and can try as many options as you want.
We started out by ordering the flavored agua fresco which is made with simple syrup, fruit juice and tequila. I went for watermelon, while Gina went for pineapple. They were surprisingly refreshing (I normally dislike tequila) and since they’re unlimited you could try different flavors or opt for a mimosa, Michalada or Bloody Maria on the next go round.
Our server, Maricio, was super helpful since this was our first time and selected items from the menu for us to try. We started with the fresh guacamole, salsa, shrimp ceviche and jicama & fruit salad. The guacamole and ceviche were muy excellente! And from someone who isn’t a fan of ceviche, I think that says a lot. It was packed with shrimp, avocado, tomato and onions.
Our next “course” was a tasting of tacos. Maricio selected the bacon & egg, carne asado and barbacoa tacos for us to sample. Out of the three, the barbacoa was the favorite. The meat was juicy and well flavored.
For the entree, we tried the sopes y huevos con carnitas, chicken tinga tamale, and chiliquiles. As I’ve stated before, I LOVE tamales(if you all know of any great spots in DC for tamales, let me know!) so I enjoyed the chicken tinga tamale the most. I also really liked the sopes which were crispy corn cakes topped with pork, a poached egg, onion and salsa verde. Nomalicious!
And even though Gina and I were completely stuffed, we couldn’t escape without trying dessert. I’m a fan of tres leches cake so we ended up trying that and the french toast. The Tres leches was tiny and pretty underwhelming. Even though the cake is soaked in milk, it was still oddly dry. The french toast however, served with plantains fresh fruit and a cinnamon mousse was delicious!
All in all, I’d give El Centro’s endless brunch, 3 out of 5 stars. It may seem unfair, but I couldn’t help but use Masa 14 as a benchmark since their menu was crafted by the same chef. With that said, the food totally paled in comparison. It was definitely tasty and the portions were bigger than at Masa, but the flavors just weren’t as intriguing. But if you’re a lover of Mexican fare and tequila, El Centro is absolutely worth a try!
Is there a brunch/happy hour/restaurant you think we should try?? Let us know!