Oyamel, web site, 2250 Crystal Drive, Crystal City, Arlington, VA, 703-413-2288, closed Monday, plus they don’t always take reservations (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Washingtonian | WaPo | City Paper | Don Rockwell | openlist | Gayot]
Update: The Crystal City location has closed, and the place is moving downtown, to where Andale used to be, near the Verizon Center, on 401 7th St., new phone is (202) 628-1005.
The best Mexican we have, without a doubt. Don’t compare this to your favorite TexMex in Houston but rather to a fancy nouveau place in Mexico City (which is where the chef hails from). The décor is beautiful, and reminiscent of the Camino Real Hotel in Polanco. The word on the new locale is that the place is much smaller but has maintained its standards. I’ve yet to go back there, but am looking forward to it.. Just about everything is remarkably authentic, they even fight the regulators to get Mexican cheeses across the border, albeit pasteurized ones.
You should get: the seared scallops, cochinita pibil tacos (barbecued, slowly simmered pork), Chile Poblano Relleno, black rice with cuitlacoche (corn fungus, that word is Nahuatl for “shit of the gods,” which is apt). I was very impressed by this place. It is by the folks who brought you Jaleo and Zaytinya and Café Atlantico, but of these Oyamel takes the greatest care to give you the real thing.