LOCATION: Smorgasburg D.C. (Tingey Plaza, Washington, D.C. 20003)
This past August, I had the opportunity to check out an outdoor food market called Smorgasburg in LA with some friends while out in the area for a business trip. It provided a really great opportunity to sample a bunch of foods from various local vendors, all in one spot. As it turns out, a few weekends ago when I was up in D.C. with my friends Kevin and Carlos, that Saturday was this season’s opening weekend for Smorgasburg D.C. After having a great time at the LA market, we decided to head on over to check out the D.C. market and how it compared.
Criosho was one of the first booths to stand out as we walked around, mostly due to the large grill they had set up out behind the tent. The smells were wafting around enough to make you come check out what they had cooking. Argentine street food was their marketed specialty, with three sandwiches on the menu: beef short rib, pork sausage, or grilled portabello mushroom.
Of the three options, the beef short rib (El Gaucho) sandwich sounded the most appealing. It didn’t take too long for the chef to slice up some of the freshly grilled short rib, pairing it with grilled tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, and a green chimichurri on a hoagie roll. Even if it was their most expensive sandwich option at $14, I thought there was a pretty significant amount of meat and veggies on the sandwich to make the price worth it.
After a few bites into the sandwich, I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would initially. The savory flavors from the grilled short rib, with hints of char here and there, were balanced out well by the vegetables to not make each bite feel too heavy. I really liked that punch that the chimichurri provided, with the acidic and slightly tart flavors giving the sandwich a bit of a different dimension.
Being that the El Gaucho sandwich was one of the first things we ate at the market, I’d say things got off to a good start. It wasn’t too overly filling, and the flavor profile combination between the short rib, vegetables, and chimichurri were distinct from any of the other foods we saw at the market. Be sure to give Criosho a look if you’re interested in a well-balanced and flavorful sandwich as you’re walking around the market.
Let’s now take a look at the Criosho Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Criosho:
Food: 4.25 / 5
The meat, veggies, and chimichurri all worked well together when you were taking one cohesive bite. All of the flavors balanced out, with the ingredients tasting pretty fresh and not heavy at all. Visually, I was also a fan of the colorful nature of the sandwich’s aesthetics.
Smorgasburg D.C. was arranged into a smaller space than the one in LA, but I think that gave it the advantage of having more of a community feel. I never felt like the space was ever too crowded, as there was plenty of room in the immediate area around the market to sit and chill out.
Service: 4 / 5
The staff inside the vendor tent were pretty friendly and worked efficiently to put together food to hand out to customers. The only time you would spend waiting is if they had to replenish some of the meats cooking on the grill.
Price: 4.25 / 5
$14 may be getting up there in price for a portion of sandwich, but I thought both the amount of meat and vegetables helped to justify that a little bit. Also throw in the “market upcharge” factor as well.