Chili's: "Arlington - Surprisingly great Mexican food!" Top 5 Page for this destination Virginia Restaurant Tip by matcrazy1
Virginia Restaurants: 85 reviews and 165 photos
I was advised many times to ignore the national restaurant chains in the USA. And mostly, during my second US trip, I followed this suggestion. However my visit to Mexican chain restaurant - the Chili's in Crystal City (part of Arlington) proved to be the exception to that rule. This restaurant was more than only a good surprise, it was just great experience.
At southern edge of the center of Crystal City just off main Jefferson Davis Hwy (US-1) but a little bit far from Crystal City metro station, maybe 10 min. on foot. Shortage of parking space forces to look for paid garage nearby.
WHAT A MEETING!
When we entered the Chili's, as usual in the USA, we had to wait to be seated. Thin, Asian waitress welcomed us with charming smile and asked us wether we prefer to be seated by the window. The restaurant was elmost empty, only a few guys were sitting at the bar. Kathy, as usual, started to talk very fast with the waitress, and suddenly she told us that she had a surprice for us. What surprice, I asked. The waitress came away and Kathy replied: wait a moment. In a minute we saw a young guy who came to us and said: "Dobry wieczor" which means good evening in Polish language. It was really great surprice. We met a Pole and could speak in Polish! The waitress found a table for us. While Kathy who didn't understand Polish sat alone at the table, we were talking with the Polish guy.
A little bit dark, nothing fancy, but nicely designed bar desk and confortable seperated boxes, each for four people.
Great, fast, competetive and costumary very nice. Our Asian, thin waitress had hard work about us as we changed our order 3 times :-).
Favorite Dish: Kathy ordered delicious CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA ($10.99): sliced Cajun chicken breast on penne pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce, seasoned tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and garlic toast.
Urszula and I had FAJITA QUESADILLAS ($9.99): "fajita steak or chicken with grilled onions and Jack cheese in buttery toasted tortillas. Served with rice, black beans, sour cream & pico de gallo ". I added guacamole ($0.99). I didn't understand part of my order: guacamole, Jack cheese and pico de gallo, silly me.
Let me explain now:
Jack cheese, or Monterey Jack cheese is a skim milk cheese added to many Mexican dishes I ate in the USA. This one in my fajita dish was similar to the one I had in Tijuana, Mexico and softer than those which I tasted in the West (say, California) where it tasted similar to Cheddar.
Pico de gallo is a garnish made from chopped onion, tomato, and chiles (typically jalapenos or serranos). Other ingredients can also be added. In Chili's cucumber was added (others include lemon, lime, raddish). Chiles (the chile peppers) were cultivated since prehistoric times in Peru and Mexico. They were discovered in the Caribbean by Columbus.
Guacamole is a thick mixture (green in color) of ripe avocado, tomato, onion and spices which is usually eaten cold with bread. There was no bread in Chili's but fajitas.
We chose fajita steak which tasted over-average. Maybe it should be served a little bit warmer or just we were talking too lot before eating, that's easy with Kathy, believe me :-). The rice, guacamole and black beans were top class (we say in Polisk: "a sky in a mouth". Sour cream was more decoration of my plate than a thing to eat. I don't like and didn't eat it. Pico de gallo was mild which was great for me as I hate dishes made so spicy you can't taste anything else.
Address: 320 23rd Street, Suite 250; Arlington, VA 22202
Price Comparison: about average
Directions: Northern Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Approx. 10 min. walk southwards from Crystal City Metro station, just off main Jefferson Davis Hwy (US-1), approx. 15 min. walk northwards from Hyatt-Regency Crystal City.
Phone: +1 (703) 413-8181
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