Oaxaca, finalmente

December 16, 2006

La Carta de Oaxaca on Urbanspoon

Ok, so it was just a few weeks ago that I bemoaned the fact that I’d never been to La Carta de Oaxaca. On Thursday night, while the winds howled and the rains fell, I had dinner at the near mythic Mexican in Ballard. The wretched weather and flooded streets served one good purpose – no line out the door.

I have to admit, I was disappointed. I mean, the food was good and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, and I clicked “I like it” on Urbanspoon. But I think I’d built up a pitch of expectation that just couldn’t be satisfied by merely good, solid, tasty Mexican food. I used to live in Austin, and the fact is that whatever I may feel about the state’s political contributions, they do Mexican food (not to mention TexMex) better. So by all means go to Oaxaca, but leave your high hopes behind.

The highlight of the meal (apart from the tequila) was the Mole. Sweet, rich, dark and spicy. If I’d had a jar of the stuff I probably would have poured it over everything on the table.

Mole Negro Oaxaqueno

The Chile Relleno was a bit less inspiring. The fried eggy jacket was a little soggy, but the sauce was very good.

Chile relleno con puerco

The fish tacos were merely good. I know I’ll catch flack from true foodistas for saying it, but I prefer the happy hour fish tacos at Matador across the street.

Halibut fish tacos

2 Responses to “Oaxaca, finalmente”

  1. we completely agreed. overhyped. good but not great. would go again and again just for cheap eats but would not expect to be blown away.

  2. I think Seattle has a shortage of good Mexican restaurants, which is why I like La Carta de Oaxaca so much. It’s the only place in Seattle to find simple, well-executed sensibly-portioned Mexican dishes in a smart, sexy space. Galerias is the only place remotely comparable, and it’s hard to finish anything you order there.

    I’m quite fond of the chile relleno… Nearly everywhere else in town it seems to be misinterpreted as some kind of bizarre omelet; at Oaxaca, it’s just what I expect… a fried meringue-dipped chile. I don’t know how you’d get something that isn’t soft from that process short of adding lots of flour to the meringue or maybe double-frying. The New Mexico/Texas version of relleno that uses cornmeal instead of meringue isn’t really Mexican, to the best of my knowledge.

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