We Finally Check Out The Oaxaca Grill

Those of you who are familiar with this fine Henderson Center establishment- and I guess that’s most of you- can skip reading the rest of this. I am ashamed-ASHAMED- that I never ate there until Monday.  I have been missing out, clearly.

The Oaxaca ( 508 Henderson, near F Street, 445-9702) doesn’t have a website. It’s a family-run cafe with surprisingly sophisticated Mexican food.  The personable server is the paterfamilias.  The menu looks spendy until you figure in that most of the choices include soup or salad. I tried the Cream of Jalapeno and it was really different, smooth and richly flavorful.  I had the fish tacos and the fish appeared to be filet of sole.  The small pieces were tucked into thin corn tortillas that were a little too delicate to hold a taco together, especially with the mound of mango salsa that was piled on.  I used a knife and fork. It was great. 

My friend ordered a chimichanga and pronounced it good, although there was some debate over whether the chimi should have come with lettuce, guac etc on top as it does at Rita’s.  At the Oaxaca, it won’t, so take that into your considerations. Although we came into this situation knowing that the Oaxaca is renowned for its mole,  we left without trying it.

Shucks, I guess we’ll have to go back!


9 thoughts on “We Finally Check Out The Oaxaca Grill

  1. I’m not sure what the whole story is with the Oaxaca Grill, but it used to be Roman’s. Roman’s used to be where Rita’s on Harris Street is now, which is where I first made their acquaintance.

    I drove up to the drive thru window (left over from a prior pizza place) and found they had huge bean burritos for $1.50. After that I made it a point to stop by there regularly to pick up burritos. I got to know the owners, Benita and Rafael, a bit.

    Then they moved to Henderson Center. They weren’t getting much business and thought a change of location might help. I don’t think it did. If nothing else, the current Rita’s location offered a drive thru window and a fair amount of parking. They didn’t have that in Henderson Center.

    I was enamored of their simple, huge burritos and tried to continue buying them but parking was a problem in Henderson Center. Since I’m usually dragging a trailer, I’d often have to park a block or so away just to pick up a couple burritos.

    I finally gave up on their burritos because of the parking hassles and noticed they changed the name to Oaxaca Grill sometime after. Not sure if the family that owns it now is related to the Romans. I haven’t been in there since it became Oaxaca Grill, but it looks the same from the outside.

    • Wasn’t there a Roman’s in Ferndale in one of the old hotels? I could be wrong. The Oaxaca grill is a little more upscale than most Mexican restaurants, with the salad bar etc. Thanks for the info and thanks for confirming that there’s not enough parking in Henderson Center!

  2. Not sure where they went, but they wanted to develop a small bistro cafe with an urban vibe. I think that they were ahead of the curve and would have been successful in today’s market. (Not sure what where the Old Town reference comes to play; Bay City Grill was in Henderson Center on Henderson Street.)

    • Someone wrote recently that the old Lazio’s spot where the Siren’s Song is now was in its heyday during the period you mentioned. Sorry to be confusing. Yes, it sounds like they were ahead of the curve.

    • OMG I don’t even remember the Bay City Grill. I wasn’t here in the ‘eighties and early ‘nineties. Was it of that era?

        • I apparently missed a lot by not living here then. Those were apparently the glory days of the place in Old Town where the Siren’s Song is now. Do you know if the BCG people went on to another restaurant?

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