First Look: the Salt Line team's chic Tysons Tex-Mex
Upscale Tex-Mex restaurant Ometeo is gearing up for a big, margarita-fueled opening in Tysons Corner before the year's out.
Why it matters: The indoor/outdoor restaurant is the latest from D.C.'s Long Shot Hospitality — they're behind popular spots like The Salt Line and Dauphine's — and is part of a Tysons development boom bringing top restaurant talents to the 'burbs.
Driving the news: Austin-based chef Gabe Erales is co-leading the project, Long Shot tells Axios. The El Paso native brings a homegrown take on Tex-Mex border cuisine to the restaurant and has been working with Long Shot's head chef Kyle Bailey for years to develop the concept.
Catch up quick: You may remember Erales as Top Chef's Season 18 winner in Portland — and the fallout after it came to light that he had been fired the previous year for harassment.
- Erales has since apologized and opened two Austin restaurants, Yucatán-inspired Bacalar and walk-up window Tómalo Taqueria.
Zoom in: Ometeo will bring big Texas energy to the growing Capital One Center with multiple dining rooms, bars indoors and out, and a huge patio. At the same time, the team wants diners to experience a more nuanced version of Tex-Mex dining.
What they're saying: "There are all these preconceived notions — tons of melted cheese, chili con carne — and that's a big part of Tex-Mex," Erales tells Axios. "But there's also a lot of diversity, and a history of regional Mexican cooking that spilled over into Texas, whether that's mole or campfire cooking, or tamales."
On the plate: Being a Long Shot production, expect a ton of coastal influence in the way of ceviches, lobster tostadas, or the Salt Line's beloved "stuffies" (stuffed clams) in tamale form.
- The kitchen will fashion homemade flour and corn tortillas for tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas, along with lesser-seen dishes like barbecued quail or red chili pork stew.
In your glass: Mexican martinis, frozen aguas frescas, and all the agave-based spirits you can imagine.
Zoom out: Like a lot of Washingtonians, Long Shot partner Jeremy Carman grew up on Austin Grill and Cactus Cantina. "Everyone has their memories of what Tex-Mex is — nostalgia and comfort and fun — but it'll be fun to represent what that looks like in 2024."
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