DC Dining: Pork Belly, Scallops and Rabbit

June 15, 2012

Traveling for work means eating out all the time. And sometimes it’s crap, making me miss even the oft-made-fun-of Lenny’s Pizza right below my apartment, or worse, the fried chicken place next to Lenny’s (sorry, Dan!). It’s true, New Yorkers are spoiled when it comes to food.

But while I was in DC (National Harbor, Maryland, technically), I stumbled upon a place called Rosa Mexicana, a (gasp!) chain restaurant. This area is depressingly touristy and I was less than excited to spend my per diem at such a kitschy place, with its bright red and green decor begging for passing travelers to spend some time inside.

I fell for it. And I’m glad I did.

For starters I had pork belly and sea scallops tacos served with citrus-habanero salsa (above). These things were riduculously good. There was a generous portion of perfectly cooked pork belly and the scallops were seared nicely. The fruity sauce lightened things up a bit — a nice balance in both taste and color.

For my main dish, I chose from the single-page menu of month-long specials, which happened to advertise Jonathan Waxman as the culinary advisor to the cozy cantina. I went for the Conejo con Fideos, or flash fried pasta with rabbit, chicken, habanero chili roasted tomato salsa, portabello mushroom and scallions. Ever since my rabbit experience at Al Di La, I’ve been fantasizing about the subtle but delicious white meat. This dish was interesting in a good way. Though not each of the pieces of rabbit looked too appealing, there were enough to quench my rabbit desire. The sauce was light and the pasta itself was thin and delicate with a slight crunch. This monster of a dish actually came with sides: A bowl of rice and scallions along with a bowl of black beans.

Though the atmosphere of this restaurant may be a turn-off, the food is no joke. At least at this location. And we can probably thank Jonathan Waxman for that.

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