Judging Restaurants – Alero (U Street)


Alero (U Street) is located at 1301 U Street, NW. You can see their menu here. As the weather warms up Alero seems to offer a good spot for outdoor dining and is often crowded. So is it crowded just because the seating is so prime or because the food is good or some combination of the two? I’ve always enjoyed the Cleveland Park location but don’t know too much about U Street. Do people recommend it for brunch as well?

31 Comment

  • I can’t speak to Alero, but I have noticed that around here so so restaurants stay business worthy longer than one would think if they have outdoor seating even if if dog walkers, joggers, and belching buses are just feet away. It makes an opinion hard to form sometimes.

  • My bf and I go to Alreo a decent amount when its nice out and when we don’t have anything in the fridge. Chips and salsa are pretty good, so are the margaritas (decent variety) – but the rest of the food is just average. I stick to the basics here – enchiladas, fajita etc. I’m never dissapointed, but also never really thrilled. Biggest draw for us is the outdoor seating and how easily you can get it. That compensates for the OK food.

  • I get take out from Alero about once every two weeks and (obviously) like it quite a bit. I usually get the steak chimichanga. Their food isn’t the world’s greatest (it is pretty decent) but until a good Mexican joint opens nearby they’re gonna get my business.

  • Thumbs down. Their margaritas are decent but the food is gross. Maybe I made wrong choices on the menu, but after eating their once (and not expecting a lot) I haven’t bothered to come back and try again.

  • Meh. The Cleveland Park location is quite good, I think, but the U St. restaurant has been disappointing every time I’ve gone there.

  • I love the Alero in Cleveland Park, but I chose the one on U St for my birthday dinner one year and was disappointed with the food there. Not terrible, just not spectacular.

  • Way overpriced for mediocre Mexican food. Of course I only live a few doors away from Taqueria Distrito Federal so I’m spoiled.

  • Agree with 14th n’ otis.

    Except that it’s barely mediocre.

  • I actually just when there on Sunday in the need for a quick dinner before heading to the Gibson. Even though the place was quite empty it was really loud, and I don’t want to know the noise level on an evening when it is actually packed.
    The food was just bad. I had chicken tacos and I didn’t like them at all. They had no flavor, the chicken was really soggy (making all of the tacos fall apart). the best part of the dish i had was probably the rice. For this kind of food i think Cactus Cantina while not great is way better than Alero (at least this one). and when it comes to tacos i prefer Taqueria Distrito Federal in Columbia Heights.

    so i agree with those that gave it a thumbs down, way down.

  • bad food.

  • Definitely agree with 14th n’ Otis, there are better dining options on U St. then Alero…And better places to drink…

  • terrible, terrible food. it’s amazing that you can do mexican food that bad. the mexican place on 14th near T street and the one at the base of adams morgan are dramatically better than this.

    sometimes restaurants with great locations or outdoor seating just rely on them and don’t bother with the food. Lauriol Plaza comes to mind as well.

  • eric in ledroit:

    “it’s amazing that you can do mexican food that bad. ”

    Apparently, you’ve never been to Austin Grill.

    (Yes, I know it’s Tex-Mex. Still. That place is awful. The worst.)

  • I don’t really think that Alero is comparable to Taqueria DF. Considering that Taqueria DF is authentic, and Alero is…not.

    We go to the one in Cleveland Park sometimes after work (work in Cleveland Park), but didn’t have much any luck with the food at U St.

  • I also occasionally go to the Cleveland Park location, and have found them to be moderately good. With that in mind, I stopped by the U St. location a few months ago. The food was sub-par and the service deplorable.

  • I sat outside there on 3/6 and a rat got cornered right under my chair. Good times!

  • I have been to the one in CP many times. Same sentiment as many above – food is ok, good drinks, great outdoor seating. I will add friendly staff to that.

  • Steak fajitas, steak burrito, and steak tacos al carbon are all good (and all relatively inexpensive for around $13). Haven’t had anything else on the menu. I don’t know what people are expecting, but this is just standard tex mex and isn’t pretending to be–or charging–more or less. Personally, I don’t like Salvadorian food, and most “mexican” places in DC are really just salvadorian places, so I’m usually not pleased (I don’t know how you can mess up fajitas, but sometimes these salvadorian places have them come out sweet tasting). So, from my perspective, Alero is better than a lot of the other similar places in town.

  • Clearly, when given an online forum, everyone suddenly hates everything with crazy fierceness. Why the mad venom, I wonder? I find their food pleasant & edible: It’s not great, but it’s not like eating dinosaur diapers either. Having lived in Tucson for 10 years, you just don’t expect top-shelf mex up here. So just relax, have a meal, smile. No biggie.

    BUT: They lost points with me when they stopped carrying mezcal. (well then, take the smoked margarita off the menu, plz) — My visits there have dropped significantly since then…

  • i actually usually only post in threads about restaurants I like (like Domku – YUM!). but this one is a serious outlier.

  • Echo many sentiments above, including IA’s (coming from SoCal, you just don’t expect a lot in DC). Their steak dishes are usually worth ordering. I find the place totally moderate, but the worst WORST thing is the noise. I will usually only go for lunch or at an off-time. It is mind-numbingly loud inside during peak hours.

  • If they had the same menu as CP and Conn Ave, it would be OK. But they went with an “upscale” menu when they opened and have lived off of their lounge and outdoor seating every since. Disappointing overall, but not bad for a happy hour margarita and chips and salsa. But I’m just a whiny vegetarian who craves bean burritos, so maybe that is why I am unhappy…

  • Alero is horrid, horrid, horrid.

  • Makes Lauriol Plaza seem like the greatest Mexican place ever. In other words, Alero is, as Raymo says, horrid, horrid, horrid.

  • The food at the U St Alero is not as good as the food at the Alero on Connecticut (DuPont circle location). One time I was eating at the U St one and I almost caught the table on fire. Needless to say the paper in the chip basket got into those little candles they put on the little tables they seat you at. That paper burns fast. No fire extinguishers were needed thank goodness!

  • 1. Who serves dinosaur diapers in DC? and
    2. Do they deliver?

  • Muy mediocre comida, but they have this one hostess who’s smokin hot.

  • The male severs there are dreamy. Ding dong!

  • My husband and I go to the U Street Alero when we want to get our “Crapxican” on – we either sit outside or at the bar, have a few too many margaritas, listen to the worst, most inappropriate non-mexican techno music ever, and eat sub-par enchiladas or tacos. That said, I will give it that it’s consistently sub-par, which is okay by me – does the job if your expectations are in the right place.

    For good and cheap, there’s nothing like Taqueria Distrito Federal. For good and not cheap, I go Oyamel.

  • Now I must say I love Alero. Nice atmosphere (except for the Friday night HU invasion, lol). The food is okay but Lauriol Plaza’s food is a lot better. What keeps me coming back are the frozen Marguaritas. The absolute best in the city. Very tasty and the staff is friendly.

    Also, they have $25 Gift Certificates for $10 (less if it’s during a promo) on http://www.restuarant.com.

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