Rosa Mexicano, the stylish Mexican chain known for its tableside-prepared guacamole, is opening its 14th location in Chevy Chase on Saturday, in the former Bambule restaurant. When I stopped by the new Wisconsin Avenue restaurant on Thursday, the place was buzzing with a friends and family practice lunch.
Company president and CEO Howard Greenstone, who was there surveying the scene, said that each restaurant in the upscale chain is decorated a little differently, although the whole design concept was inspired by deceased Mexican modernist architect Luis Barragan.
After an extensive renovation of the space—a difficult task which involved having to work around six columns that hold up the building—the Chevy Chase location is decorated in hot pink and purple, with waterfalls cascading from dark blue tiles, punctuated with little molded Acapulco divers.
Greenstone said waterfalls used to grace the chain’s Penn Quarter location—until a manager forgot to turn the water off one evening, and the Venable law firm, located in the same 7th Street building, got flooded.
The décor at the Chevy Chase restaurant is still a work in progress, however; Greenstone said the artwork on the walls will be replaced, and he also plans to rearrange some of the seating.
As for the food, “every time we open a new restaurant, we tweak the menu a bit,” he said. For Chevy Chase diners, that means a few new enchilada dishes—including duck garnished with pickled melon and cucumbers—and “small plates” or appetizer-sized dishes that will enable people to graze instead of ordering an entrée.
The restaurant will open for dinner on Saturday, January 28, will close on Sunday, and reopen for lunch on Monday.
Rosa Mexicano, 5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-777-9959. www.rosamexicano.com