There’s a new Mexican restaurant just north of Dupont Circle: Mission. Georgetown nightlife kings Reed Landry and Fritz Brogan (George, Mason Inn) opened the restaurant last week, and tapped Ransom Construction to brighten up what was once One Lounge. Now, the space is painted white, a long skylight above the bar invites the sunshine beam in, a fireplace lined with two cubbies of wood frames a space that was once a bar, and white church pews frame tables and rooms throughout the venue.
The gentlemen chose Chef Rodrigo Albarran to run the menu. He owns two RR Taqueria locations in Maryland and hails from Mexico City. I’ve patronized Landry and Brogan’s parties and venues for years on my quest for vodka Red Bull-fueled nights and group “shot-skis” (four shots glued to a snow ski), and since I was expecting this place to be likewise bar-centric, I was surprised to find excellent cuisine on the menu.
I’ve always liked the fruit-and-salt combos featured at Mexican restaurants, and took my chances on the $11 Tacos de Pescado on Mission’s menu. It’s described as a set of three “mahi-mahi with mango and pineapple mix” tacos. At first glance, the tacos are a healthy size. Sometimes higher-end Mexican restaurants serve tiny tacos, and Mission’s set of three were big enough to feed a hungry person (I ended up taking one of them home). It comes with a side of green salsa and a lime wedge.
The mahi-mahi fish is perfectly cooked and fried. Chef Albarran douses the fish with colorful pineapple-and-mango salsa and drizzles some sort of chipotle sauce to round it out. It’s easy to eat – the flour tortillas are easy to handle, and I was glad that there wasn’t a lot of drip from excess water in the dish. I ate the tacos at El Rey and though they tasted good, but the fish juices dripped down my arm and into my shirt sleeve, leaving me smelling like fish for the rest of the night. Back to Mission’s tacos: The crunch of the salsa and fried fish makes for a great texture, and proves this isn’t some ragtag taco joint upping its prices just because it’s in a great location.
This was washed down with the bar’s signature $10 margarita: a spicy pineapple-jalapeño margarita made with El Jimador Agave tequila. Like the tacos, it’s spicy-but-not-too-spicy with a sweet finish from the pineapple. Before leaving, I glanced at the bar, and good looking young professionals were either drinking the same or cans of Tecate.
Mission opens everyday at 5 p.m. and plans to launch brunch and lunch later this spring.