Arroz Con Camaron at Los Toltecos

Last night, I ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant in the Northern Virginia area–Los Toltecos.

Located on the edge of Sterling, Va., the restaurant I ventured to is one of seven Los Toltecos restaurants in the area. Interestingly enough, at least one of them is named La Tolteca, though I don’t know what the story is behind that change in gender. I’ll have to ask at some point.

Every meal I’ve eaten at this place has been superb. The first two or three times I went to Los Toltecos, I ordered their version of Chiles Poblanos, which consists of two poblano peppers stuffed with potato and cheese, fried in a light egg batter, and covered with the house mole poblano sauce. Mole sauces are complex–they are usually dark brown and include spice from peppers, sweetness from fruits, slight sourness from tomatillos, and are even sometimes finished with chocolate. I suspect the Los Toltecos mole poblano sauce is finished that way; its flavor is deep and rich yet sweet and raisin-y.

A standard mole sauce
A standard mole sauce

Yesterday, I had the Arroz Con Camaron (rice with shrimp). What a modest little name for such a flavorful dish. As you can see from the photo, the dish consists of grilled, deveined shrimp (one of my pet peeves is eating shrimp with vein still inside), diced yellow and red bell peppers, sliced zucchini, cilantro, and pineapple. The dish also includes rice with a slice of cheese on top, which melts into the rice and thickens it up.

Talk about a summery meal. The shrimp were fresh and had delicious char on them. The bell peppers were crisp, oily and salty on the outside, and mildly sweet. The cilantro lent an┬áherbaceous freshness to each mouthful. And every few seconds, I’d chase a bite with a small slice of pineapple for some acidity and sweetness. The PERFECT summer meal. The pineapple was from a can, and the dish would benefit from having fresh, thick, grilled pineapple slices. Other than that, 10 out of 10.

I recommend you check the place out. Definitely get their guacamole as an appetizer; it’s pleasant with its saltiness and has a distinct garlic-y taste. Also, in case you’re a Yelper, I don’t think Los Toltecos’ Yelp review does it justice. Just try to avoid dining around 7:00pm, I guess.

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