The team behind Barracks Row's Zest American Bistro is going a completely different direction with its next venture: a Mexican restaurant called Agua 301. The new spot, set to open Dec. 20, gets its name from its address: 301 Water St. SE on the Capitol Riverfront, right next to recently opened Osteria Morini.
Owners Amanda and Stephen Briggs have also announced a chef: Antonio Burrell, who helped open El Centro D.F. and Masa 14 and most recently worked at Redwood in Bethesda. One of his first cooking jobs happened to be at a Mexican restaurant in Fargo, N.D.
So, why Mexican? "While we were sitting and looking out at the water, we said, 'What do we like to do when we go to the water?' We like to sit back and, me in particular, have a margarita," Stephen says. "One of the top foods that we love is Mexican food."
The menu has a modern Mexican bent with a few less traditional touches (like a carne asada taco with kimchi). Burrell says you likely won't see chile rellenos, fajitas, burritos, or enchiladas. But tacos? Of course: One of the dishes Burrell is most excited about is the taco al pastor, made with crispy fried pork belly rather than pork shoulder and a pineapple-habanero chutney instead of roasted pineapple. The other half-dozen tacos include beef cheek barbacoa and a squash and shiitake mushroom option with chilies, goat cheese, and pickled corn relish.