Though there may be no ocean in sight, Surfside brings a lively island feel to the oft-overlooked Glover Park "strip" on Wisconsin Avenue, just north of Georgetown. The restaurant's tropical hued interior and half-shaded/half-sunny roof deck oozes an oceanside vibe that practically mandates a margarita on the rocks.
Surfside's menu mixes Tex-Mex -- think tacos, burritos chips and salsa -- with seafood, all ordered at a counter. Each entree is inspired and named after beachy destinations from the Caribbean to Martha's Vineyard. On a recent spectacularly sunny spring day, we headed for the roofdeck with our starter order of guacamole. Surfside's take was a hearty, citrus infused bowl suited for sharing.
Fish tacos are ubiquitous on Mexican-inspired menus lately--they rose 22.5% in 2010 on menus across the country. But in spite of this proliferation, I usually find myself disappointed biting into limp, unseasoned, uninspired fish bits, slapped on a tortilla with a dollop of sour cream and/or salsa thrown on to mask the unseemly flavor. But the Negril Taco plate at Surfside was quite simply exceptional. A generous portion of juicy, blackened mahi-mahi was topped with just the right amount of zesty slaw, spicy cream sauce, and fresh avocados.
The generous portions are served with a comforting side of red beans and rice. At about $10 an entree, a meal at Surfside satisfies the need for a beach food escape if you experience such an urge on a sunny weekend day in the city.