Thursday, September 21, 2006
From DCFUD - Oyamel is No-yamel
I picked the wrong weekend to leave town.
My favorite of Jose' Andres' group of restaurants, Oyamel, has closed in Crystal City. The last night was September 16th. It will reopen in Andale's old space, 401 7th Street NW, sometime in 2007.
Granted, this is old news, and I knew it was coming, but it is still jarring to see the sign in the window explaining the move. My day job is in Crystal City, and I've enjoyed the diversity of restaurants here, from surprisingly good chains like Ted's Montana Grill and Hamburger Hamlet, to interesting family-owned places like Urban Thai, Punjab Kabob, The Portofino and Cafe' Italia. Having two of Chef Andres' finest, Jaleo and Oyamel, on the same block, has been a wonderful bonus. Oyamel's happy hour specials of tacos, especially the chicken and chorizo combo, and fine margaritas made a nice afterwork treat. Jaleo's not bad, but I preferred Oyamel's bolder spicing and flavors.
Many `burbs have lousy food choices, and it's certainly better here in Crystal City than in my former office space in Owings Mills, Maryland. Sam's Club hot dogs vs. Red Robin vs. Hops vs. TGIFridays, maybe a Ruby Tuesday to spice things up - that's just not a winning battle. It made me long for the fictional fare from Chotchkie’s or ShenaniganZ.
It's comforting to know Oyamel will be back and will be a nice alternative downtown to Rosa Mexicano. Plus, Oyamel's space will soon be occupied by a new Roberto Donna project, a casual Italian place dubbed Bebo Trattoria.
This must be how parents rationalize when their child marries - I'm not losing an Jose', but gaining a Roberto.