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Oyamel, Penn Quarter

401 7th Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
Tel: 202 628 1005
view web site ›'s insider take:

José Andrés is the power chef of D.C. From his classic tapas restaurant Jaleo to airy meze spot Zaytinya to Minibar, his six-stool tribute to molecular gastronomy, the Spaniard is serving up dead-serious food in the playful guise of small plates. At Oyamel, Andrés focuses on Mexico's answer to tapas, antojitos. The similarities between this and your basic Mexican joint end at the free chips and salsa—not to mention the grasshopper tacos. Here, the guacamole, prepared tableside, benefits from the tangy creaminess of goat cheese, while delicate mescal foam floats above a tangy salmon seviche. Be sure to save room for the braised short ribs, which come apart with the touch of a fork, all the better to soak up the savory mole surrounding them. The orange and red banquettes, metal butterfly mobiles, and colorful masks provide a festive backdrop for the cooking. The location in the Penn Quarter draws a mix of young, hip Washingtonians and middle-aged tourists alike, so be sure to make a reservation. The wait for walk-ins can be long, even on a weeknight.

Open Sundays and Mondays 11:30 am to 10 pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 11:30 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to midnight.

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