A friend and I had lunch recently at Oyamel, in their spacious dining room with a beautiful butterfly sculpture hanging from the ceiling, and had the following intriguing, delicious dishes:
Started with crispy, not too salty plantain and tortilla chips served with both a slightly spicy tomatillo dip and a smokey chipotly dip.
Chilaquile - a nacho-type dish with corn tortilla triangles in a green, pumpkin-seed sauce topped with gooey jack cheese. Elevated "bar food"!
Pulled Chicken Tacos - three small soft tacos filled with luscious, moist pulled pork in a marinade that was tinged with cinnamon.
Squash Blossom Quesadillas - 4-6" long, crescent- shaped, crispy tortilla folded over a filling of crisp squash blossoms. Less interesting than the other dishes we had because there wasn't the complexity of flavors.
Seared sea scallops - two nicely seared, juicy scallops surrounded by a drizzle of tomatillo and pumpkin seed sauce.
The check is presented in a beautifully carved and decorated wooden box, handmade in Mexico, that is tempting to filch, but our very nice, competent waiter assured us could be purchased at the Mexico Store in the District.
Oyamel is located at 2250 B Crystal Drive in Arlington, VA amongst a cluster of great, new restaurants, including a McCormick and Schmick's, Jaleo, and a new Thai restaurant that is scheduled to open on 23rd Street nearby, that are heralding a dining renaissance in Crystal City. The phone number is (703) 413-2288.