Classic Tables: Taqueria el Poblano

Tacos that snap to it

Call us brazen, but we think lots of people can put good meat into a corn tortilla and call it a taco.

But in this area, only one group can pull it off with crisp Los Angeles-style fried shells.

Since 1999, Taqueria el Poblano has specialized in a perfectly spicy hybrid of Mexican and California-Mexican dishes.

The style is no accident: Owner Glen Adams grew up in Southern California, and had trouble satisfying cravings when he arrived in Washington. He set to work testing recipes, and created a menu of dishes that taste like they could have dropped off an L.A. taco truck.

Crispy tacos ($4) tuck cumin-seasoned chicken, adobo-marinated pork, or our favorite, chile-braised shredded beef into slightly greasy fried corn cradles. Each is topped with shredded lettuce and tomatoes, though they're even better with a dash of house-made habanero salsa and a zesty house Margarita ($6.50). Cylindrical pork taquitos ($8) are slightly less messy, and come with a side of creamy guacamole.

Those who love soft tortillas won't miss out. The restaurant's popular Baja-style fish tacos ($4.50) wrap beer-battered mahi-mahi into a soft corn tortilla with Mexican slaw, crema and pico de gallo. West Coast transplants can thank us later.

Taqueria el Poblano , 2400 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-548-8226 or taqueriapoblano.com