Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande, located in Gaithersburg’s Washingtonian Center spares none of the five senses from temptation. To the eyes, the establishment presents an exterior whose bold color palette suggests good happenings beneath its eaves, with an interior décor that projects an inviting sense of familiarity through the vintage photographs decking its walls. To the ears and nose, it offers the crackling hiss of entrees delivered on sizzling griddles to your tableside, the mouth-watering aroma of freshly-made flour tortillas and skillfully smoked meats and vegetables. It thrills the tactile sense with meals celebrating everything that’s tasty about slow-smoked pork ribs, crispy tacos, and fajitas; joys of eating that, to be truly enjoyable, demand that one forego the use of utensils. Then there are the many good turns that Uncle Julio’s does to the taste buds.
Either despite or due to the notable absence of the chimichanga, Uncle Julio’s menu affords its patrons, and indeed Mexican cuisine itself, several breaths of fresh air. Dishes bearing names like Matamoros and Quail a la Parilla, serve up deliciously-prepared mesquite grilled quail in chipotle BBQ sauce and frog legs. If lighter fare is the order of the day, then tuck into a Ceviche Rica or Ceviche Royale with fresh lemon and lime juices, onion, tomato, and cilantro, or dip a spoon into a bowl of the Poblano Cream Soup served every Thursday as Soup of the Day.
My advice? Stop in and try something you’ve never tasted before. Do this because lakeside outdoor seating provides a wonderfully scenic vantagepoint for people-watching on a sunny day. Do it because Mexican food is most delicious when it’s done right. Do it, most importantly, because we eat with all five senses, and because Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande appears to know this better than most establishments of its kind.
231 Rio Boulevard
Gaithersburg, MD 20878