This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Max McCrory.
Everyone on campus is familiar with Beefsteak and its creator, alumnus and 2014 Commencement speaker José Andrés. Students may have taken their parents out for a fancy dinner at Andrés’ more upscale restaurants, Jaleo and Zaytinya.
Although all of Andrés’ restaurants are delicious, Oyamel, a Mexican tapas restaurant, stands apart. Mexican food often doesn’t get the treatment it deserves in the District, but Oyamel puts a gourmet twist on the cuisine. This tapas joint serves up an array of perfectly cooked small dishes like chile en nogada ($12) – poblano pepper stuffed with pork, pine nuts and apples topped with fresh goat cheese – and pollo a la parrilla con aguacate ($4) – a taco filled with tender chicken and green onion. But the real star of Oyamel is the dish that starts any delicious Mexican meal: guacamole.
Oyamel’s guacamole ($14) is simply beautiful. And Oyamel knows it too, as they put it right at the top of their menu and prepare it table-side. The waiters bring out the ingredients: fresh avocados, a juicy green tomatillo, a spicy serrano chile and creamy, crumbled queso fresco, along with the traditional mortar and pestle to mix it all together. The speed at which the waiters assemble the guacamole is astonishing: One minute you’re watching them cut the avocado and the next they’re asking you if you want fresh queso fresco on top. And trust me, you do.
The first bite of the guacamole is nothing short of heavenly – you’re going to want to devote your entire life to learning how to make it like the Oyamel staff. The guacamole is deliciously smooth, with bites of the spicy green tomatillos and crunchy serrano chiles mixed in. The spice is not overwhelming and is easily quelled by Oyamel’s fresh limonada ($3.50). The queso fresco sprinkled on top adds a rich, creamy flavor, too. If you don’t want to just eat it with a spoon, the warm house-made corn tortillas add the perfect salty crunch.