Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

July 16, 2009

oyamel1A few weeks ago, my boyfriend’s sister came to D.C. for a visit. We decided to take her out for a fun night on the town and decided we must do dinner at Oyamel. Oyamel is a playful mexican tapas-style restaurant located in Chinatown. The resto is owned and operated by world-famous chef Jose Andres who is known for spanish cooking, namely tapas or small plate dishes. He has a reputation for using non-traditional cooking methods and for owning several restos here in D.C. (jaleo, cafe atlantico, zaytinya, and minibar). Jose Andres restaurants are some of the best the city has to offer and although it was a tough choice deciding where to go, we easily settled on Oyamel for it’s relaxed atmosphere and comforting mexican inspired food.
We started with margaritas topped with salty foam. This is one of the unusual cooking techniques I mentioned earlier. Instead of rimming the glass with salt, the bar tender topped each beverage with a salty froth that was light and playful. The margaritas were delicious!
Next up, it was fresh guacamole made table-side. I appreciate table-side presentations because it allows the customer to see each ingredient that is added, ensures freshness and it’s also entertaining. This guacamole was made to order-medium spicy please!
For dinner we shared a variety of dishes. The menu was fairly extensive and I was pleased to see that there were numerous veggie and seafood options listed. We chose fresh corn tamales, black beans with queso fresco, shrimp in an avacado/pesto sauce, frites topped with mole and cheese, tacos, and let’s not forget the fresh corn tortillas! The tortillas were so simple, but served hot and fresh-totally irresistable!

Everything we ate was delicious, but I have to say that overall, I was a tad underwhelmed. The food was simple and delicious, but none of the dishes were particularly memorable. Seeing that it was Jose Andres’ restaurant, I was expecting more magic in each dish-especially for the price. I am glad I tried Oyamel, but I’m not sure how often I will go back. That said, I think this is a wonderful place to take a date or a someone who is new to D.C. The atmosphere is upscale, but relaxed so that you can focus on the food. And the small dishes make for great conversation. I hope you will try Oyamel if you haven’t already. Now, I leave you with a few pictures of the food!

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The Healthy Apple August 31, 2009 at 4:06 pm

wow; that restaurant looks amazing; my mouth is watering…yuuummmmyyy

Beth @ CrossBorderCravings July 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I feel like I am always dining at the same places as you guys review!! I went to Oyamel a month or two ago and totally agree – good but not out-of-this-world which I guess I was kind of expecting from Jose Andres. I’d be interested to see what his other places are like in comparrison.

brandi July 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm

this place looks awesome! i would love to have the guac made tableside. how cool

Alison July 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Sounds great! I love tapas!

mere July 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm

i LOVED the margarita. Go for drinks and guac!

Jennifer Smith July 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I have eaten there as well and also found it overwhelming. I also left hungry ’cause the portions are WAY too small for the price you pay. My ceviche was lovely but SO TINY. Sam goes for the grasshoper taco- delish (yes, I know I said delish for grasshopper, but it was!)

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