on November 2, 2007
Oyamel is Jose Andres' foray into Mexican tapas, modeled after his highly successful Jaleo chain. You'll notice a lot of the same perks here - great food, decent prices and good cocktails.This restaurant is POPULAR right now. I'd highly recommend making your reservations (especially if you have more than 4 people in your party) a month or so in advance. They have an unfortunate habit of squishing more people than they should at the tables.That said, the food is great. The table-side prepared guacamole is wonderful. Some of our favorites were the braised short ribs, the chipotle meatballs, and the baby pig tacos. The chayote salad made for a refreshing break from all the meat! Slightly less successful are the ceviches. Unfortunately the fish in the ones we tried were overpowered by their toppings, which I find to be a common problem with ceviches.I also can't recommend enough that you break out of your shell and try new things. Two great dishes on the menu are the beef tongue tacos and the grasshopper tacos. Both are really very good; the grasshoppers are spicy and crunchy while the braised beef tongue has a silky texture.We stuck to beer and margaritas on our trip. The wine selection is moderately priced, but let's face it; this type of food calls for tequila. Oyamel has around 40 different types of top-shelf tequila for your pleasure, but the real winner is the Oyamel margarita. Instead of a salt rim, they use a salt and lime 'foam' to top the drink. It leads to perfect salt distribution every time!Service is friendly and accurate, if a bit slow at times. Given what a madhouse it was when we were there, I find that understandable.I honestly dreaded a little bit when the bill came - after all, our party of 6 had been there about 3 hours and drank countless margarita. It was such a pleasant surprise to see the bill come to be less than $350 for everything we ate!
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