photo credit: Chris Prosser
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
You know what sucks? When a place promises “upscale” versions of classic street food but ends up being terrible and overpriced. You know what’s awesome? When that same premise delivers. Oyamel fits the second description perfectly, and takes it a step further by placing that food in a fun space that makes you excited to just be there.
Whatever you think of when you think Mexican food, you can find it here, and you won’t be let down. Tacos, moles, margaritas are all great. Come with a group so you can sample some of everything.
Oyamel has the Jose Andres’ Anti-Stuffiness Check Mark thing down, and is perhaps the best example of it. Think of Oyamel any time you want to have fun. Catching up with some old friends? Grab a pitcher of the salt-air margaritas and laugh about the time you all got trashed on low-grade tequila in college. Want to show your date that you know how to eat well and have fun? Order the tasting menu if you’re willing to spend north of $50 a person and let the kitchen bring out plate after plate. Where else can you down some top-notch tacos and try to guess what the hell is happening in the black and white 1950s Mexican B-movie that plays on a loop?
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The fact that these are free and are still on here are a testament to how good they are. Seasoned with a mixture that we assume has at least a sprinkling of some highly addictive narcotic and served hot, right out of the fryer. Scoop up some excellent guacamole or salsa with these.
Papas al Mole
The only downside to ordering these is that they’ll ruin all french fries for you afterwards. Why isn’t mole a standard dipping sauce in this country, dammnit?
Frijoles Fefritos con Queso
Not your traditional beans with cheese on top, that would be too easy. Here, they wrap the beans around the cheese, keeping everything nice and melty. Not that this is a problem, it’ll disappear from the plate quickly.
If you did nothing but order off this section of the menu you’d be A-OK. Pork belly, mahi mahi, and carnitas are all strong choices.
Short Rib in Mole Sauce
If you want to eat something with a fork and not your hands, go with this. So tender that it’ll fall apart if you stare at it too long. Lick the plate to get every last drop of the mole sauce.
Salt Air Margarita
Jose Andres was one of the first to get into the foam game, and this may be the best use of it. No need to constantly rotate your glass to get some salt in every sip, the salt comes on top here. Genius.