Mexican Taken Up a Notch at Oyamel

With my friend Rishi visiting from NY last weekend, we embarked on a four-part DC eating tour:

Part 1 — shrimp po’ boy at Eastern Market; Part 2 — chorizo and arepas from the Colombian tent at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; Part 4 — The Summer Fancy Food Show.

Part 3? Dinner at Oyamel. Let’s just say this past week I ate a lot of salads and gave the workouts some extra oomph.

If dinner at Jaleo is still my favorite meal since moving to DC, Oyamel doesn’t lag far behind. We sampled a variety of dishes from the vibrant Mexican menu, starting with the guacamole.

Nothing particularly unique about homemade guacamole, but the chunkiness and sprinkling of cheese made this one stand out. The only downside of a big bowl of guac is trying not to fill up before the rest of the dishes arrive.

Another marvel of texture, the tuna ceviche topped with crunchy grains of amaranth. So good. Now I want to know where to buy amaranth — Whole Foods?

We raved about the savory tacos: shredded chicken with potatoes and chorizo, Yucatan-style pit pork with pickled red onions, and confit of baby pig with green tomatillo sauce and pork rinds.

The standout, by far, was the confit of baby pig. The taco exploded with juice, and again, texture, with the tender pork countered by crispy bits of pork rind.

The refried beans wrapped around Chihuahua cheese… well, the presentation was unfortunate.

I’m gonna say that’s not the most aesthetically pleasing shape for refried beans.

A fine example of beef short rib.

And an Italian-inspired seared red snapper in tomatoes and capers, with a beautifully crisped-up skin.

Finally, a smoky chile-infused shrimp dish.

Our reservation was for 9pm, and by the time we left at around 11, the place was still going strong.

That’s two Jose Andres DC restaurants down, three to go. So far so good.

401 7th St. NW
Washington, DC

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