Tuesday, July 1, 2008

mio viernes oaxaqueno

when i used to live nearby, la carta de oaxaca used to be a great option for a quick, inexpensive (early) dinner. the only problem with this place is that it gets so packed so quickly! la carta is open for both lunch and dinner with a two hour siesta between shifts.

i love the dining room: red, brick walls; rustic, white, shared tables; black-framed/white-matted photos of la vida oaxaqueno; rattan chairs; and a salsa bar. sheesh i love salsa bars. the menu (carta) is a simple, well-executed mix of moles, tacos, and seafood dishes.

our party of five started off with chips and guacamole accompanied by a mix of pico, chipotle, verde, and roasted tomato salsas from the aforementioned bar. the chips were hot and, dare-i-say, over-salted. they were good, but not moose-good.

B ordered the mole negro oaxaqueno (the house specialty!). this mole was served with olive-oiled white rice, chicken or pork mole, and freshly-made tortillas then sprinkled with a salty, dry oaxaqueno cheese. delicious and devoured.

A sampled the tamales de mole negro. what made this dish oaxacan is the banana leaf wrapper in place of the traditional corn husk. the leaf imparted a distinct banana aroma and flavor...so much so that A swore there was banana in the masa dough. i tried a bite of the masa, and it was oddly banana-y, but im sure it was great with the deep, umame-ness of the mole.

M and i shared the tostadas de camarones which were simple and straight-forward. the chopped, lime-laced shrimp was mixed with tomatoes, jalapeno, avocado slices, and garnished with queso oaxaqueno. perfecto.

M selected the tacos al pastor filled with barbecued pork chunks, cilantro, chopped onion, and salsa verde. they looked and smelled refreshing and summery and were served with a lime wedge and lightly-pickled radishes (one of my favorite taco accompaniments!).

E also ordered the mole negro oaxaqueno...again, tasty!

lastly i tried the sope caldo, which was a large bowl of fire red, spicy broth filled with bone-in, skin-on fish chunks, carrots, potato, green beans, and zucchini served with fresh tortillas. the broth was spicy-spicy in a good way and especially delicious after i squeezed in some lime and threw in the juice-less body. i really enjoyed cupping broth out of the bowl with pieces of tortilla and would definitely order this dish again in repeat visits.

please enjoy la carta de oaxaca for lunch or an early dinner since the wait can be intimidating in the later evening hours. M's only complain was that the servings were quite small, and he was hungry even after he and B shared a second plate of tacos carnitas.

la carta de oaxaca
5431 ballard ave

La Carta de Oaxaca on Urbanspoon


Suge White said...

it's good but the plates are redic small so order a few and share.

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