Oyamel — Lunch on 9 February 2017

With today’s lunch, we come—at last!—to the end of yet another segment of Washington’s 32-days-long 2017 Restaurant Week, and when I write “32-days-long”, I’m writing literally.

Yesterday’s spot, Jaleo, was the first José Andrés restaurant; Oyamel is one of the most recent. The inspiration for Oyamel is Mexican street food, but the format is the same as that of Jaleo and several other Andrés places. It serves small plates, tapas style. Here in Washington, Zaytinya features Eastern Mediterranean mezze, and China Chilcano offers small plates based on the cuisine developed by immigrant Chinese workers in South America.

All four of them were listed on Michelin’s “Bib Gourmand” list of DC restaurants where you can get two courses and a glass of wine or a dessert for $40 or less.

Ceviche estilo Culiacán

Ceviche estilo Culiacán

The ceviche featured marinated striped bass with serrano, lime, onion, cilantro, tomatillos, and housemade salsa pequín. The base was cabbage, which the gave the dish an unusual accent.

Tamal verde

Tamal verde

“Tamal”, I learned, is preferred by some to “tamale”, because it’s the standard Spanish singular form of the word.  My tamal verde was filled with shredded chicken, with a green sauce of tomatillo, chile, garlic, and cilantro.

Chilorio de res

Chilorio de res

This was one great taco. It contained shredded beef braised in a rich and tangy
sauce of pasilla and guajillo chiles, topped with white onions.

Pastel de tres leches con piña

Pastel de tres leches con piña

They hooked me when the menu described the cake in this dessert as “rum-soaked”. It was decorated with pineapple gelatin and a pineapple salsa, and served with a scoop of caramel ice cream.


And that concludes 2017 Winter Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, which has left me exhausted and restauranted-out, which is a thing I just invented.

But we’re not quite finished. Alexandria Restaurant Week starts on Friday, 17 February, and runs for 10 days, so there’s more to come.

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