My mom and brother were in town for the weekend, and after a busy morning of the farmers’ market and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, we grabbed lunch at Oyamel on 7th, not terribly far from the Mall or the museums, and appetizing enough to tempt my 11 year old brother away from fast food.
Despite some early confusion – we were given the brunch menu as we arrived at the tail end of brunch service (2ish), but they were in the process of switching over to a different menu, so when my brother ordered a chicken caesar salad, he was told that while they still had caesar salads, they couldn’t make the chicken caesar – it was overall a very nice meal. Oyamel’s thing, as far as I can tell, is antojitos – tapas-like street food.
After the initial mis-ordering, my brother had a fine, if somewhat overdressed caesar salad. Shane had scallops with pumpkin seeds, pumpkin puree, and some other pumpkin derivative. I’m learning to appreciate seafood after years in the midwest, and I can confidently say that they were some of the best scallops I’ve had.
I had a tiny half chicken in a mild and delicious mole sauce (can I tell you how consistenly I am amused by mole sauce? I always want it to be ‘mole’ and not ‘mol-ay’.) with plantains and rice, and Mom had a light chicken soup with fresh veggies and avocado.
Really, though, the highlight of the whole meal was the fresh guacamole, prepared at the table and horribly photographed by me. The server brought out a large mortar and pestle, a couple of halved avocados, and several mis en place bowls with spices and other additions. After asking us how spicy we’d like our guac, he tossed in the appropriate additions, mashed it all up with a lot of lime juice, and served it in directly from the mortar, along with lightly seasoned tortilla chips.
In looking for dining options for the weekend, I learned that there had previously been an Oyamel location in Crystal City, which is terribly disappointing for me as that area’s more convenient for our regular dining than is 7th. I do hope to go back, though, as the food was wonderful, the space charming, and I’m sure we’ll be able to enjoy both more thoroughly without an 11 year old in tow.