Address: 401 7th Street NW   Washington DC 20004  www.oyamel.com

 I took the opportunity Friday to knock another restaurant off of my “Gotta Get There” list. I visited Oyamel for dinner, and I fell in love with Jose Andres.

My culinary journey began with the Oyamel Margarita, which was a tart and refreshing start to my meal. The salt foam that garnishes the drink (instead of the traditional salted rim) was so whimsical, yet left that salty taste that complements a margarita well.

 The restaurant serves antojitos, or traditional Mexican small plates, so that the diner can try a few different dishes. The first dish I sampled was the Pescado Mexicano taco (fish taco). The flavors all exploded in my mouth at first bite. The fish was cooked perfectly, tender and flaky and stood up to the bold cilantro and cumin flavors in the sauce. The tomato salsa added a nice tanginess that complemented the fish well.

 My next dish was the Arrachera con Salsa Molcajete y Nopales Escabeche (grilled skirt steak). There was definitely some heat present in this dish, but it wasn’t overpowering. The pickled cactus paddle that serves as a garnish for the dish was very tasty – a little briny, but added a salty layer of flavor to the perfectly cooked steak. Grilled tomatoes and tomatillos really gave the dish a brightness that made the dish all the more appealing. After the skirt steak was the Mejillones al tequila con Chipotle (mussels). The tequila flavor was present but not oppressive. The mussels were steamed to awesome perfection, but I found the chipotle sauce to be a bit overpowering.

My last dish of the evening was one that has been on my foodie bucket list for a while: ceviche. I’m a squeamish when it comes to ceviche. Sushi I have no problem with, but I was having trouble wrapping my head around citrus-cooked seafood. However, I was feeling adventurous, and the waiter boasted about the quality of the ceviche there, so I tried the Ceviche de Atun Pacifico (tuna ceviche). It was love at first bite. It was an amazing confluence of flavors. The citrus hits your tongue first, and the scallion and cilantro blend well with the acid. The fish has a texture that will probably take a while to get used to, but I still liked it. There were also toasted pecans on the dish, which added texture and a great nuttiness to the dish.

 Overall, this was a fantastic meal. Each dish was like a part of a symphony of flavors – a great foodie experience. This restaurant definitely gets the Fab Foodie stamp of approval. So if you are looking for a nice date restaurant or a good happy hour spot, head to Oyamel – and tell them the Fab Foodie sent you!

 Happy eating!

The Fab Foodie

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