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May 10, 2007 09:01 AM


I have to tell you that I was pretty dissapointed by this place when I went to dinner there to celebrate my sister's 30th last month.
Upon being seated the waitress came over to tell us they were out of salsa and that 3 people in the kitchen didnt show up for work so be prepared for slow food. What a great way to start a meal!

As we began to order she interjected to tell us that 3 things on the menu are out--not exactly what you want to hear when you have spent the past 20 minutes getting ready to order them.

She was right--service was slower than slow and I often had to get up from our table to find her for drinks she had forgotten.

The end all was when I had coordinated to have a surprise cake for desert. I had called ahead and had dropped off a special cake for my sister earlier in the day. I repeatedly said this is a surprise. Well when dinner was finished and no one had ordered desert we sat at our table for 40 (I am not exagearting) minutes waiting. I asked the hostess and waitress multiple times to bring out the cake. Finally someone came over and set our table for desert--what a way to ruin a surprise--another 15 minutes later the cake came out.

I will say the food was good--but the service ruined the experience.

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  1. My experience was similar to yours (although not nearly as tragic): good food, service needs work.

    1. My first—and possibly only visit to Oyamel—was also disappointing. From the annoying introduction that everything on the menu was "100% Mexican", the dreadfully slow service and the less than inspiring antojitos made it clear that Oyamel at its present form is a dud. Other things that need to be worked out include, the contrived table-side made guacamole, the selection of food where every fourth choice had mole (or some form of chocolate) as the primary embellishment, and sloppy waiters that sloshed drinks onto the table. After a string of hits, it is hard to believe that Jose Andres came up short.

      1. It is unfortunate that the three of you all had bad experiences. I liked it very much; cerainly as much as its former incarnation in Crystal City. Yes, the tableside guacomole is contrived (they do it at Cafe Atlantico as well] but that aside, it has some interesting dishes. I found service to be adequate with no undue waits; understaffed but no problems.

        1. I've been to Oyamel twice this year (once just last week) and both times had outstanding meals and decent service. This time we had the Guacamole made tableside - it was excellent. I'm not sure what exactly is "contrived" about guac made fresh tableside, especially when it's done well as it is here, and is no different than Atlantico. The seared scallops, skirt steak and red snapper dishes were also perfectly prepared with good quality ingredients. The salad with melon and blood orange was refreshing, and the green corn tamale was tasty. The only yawner was the fish taco. Their classic and oyamel margaritas are both good and boozy as well. We shared the tres leches with caramel ice cream for dessert. That too was fabulous. So while service may go off on occasion, prices are reasonable and I haven't seen any real complaints about the food.

          1. Since this seems to be turning into the Oyamel summary post: I've been there twice since the move; the first time, it was as good as it was in Crystal City, but the second time was very underwhelming--the flavors were very muted, most of the dishes were smaller, and the service was VERY inattentive. (Note that the second time I went, I was with a pair of pescetarians, so some of the better items on the menu weren't ordered--but I had also been to Oyamel in Crystal City with the same pair and the difference between the two experiences were night and day.)

            3 Replies
            1. re: sweth

              Be nice to pescetarians; I am one too but I found plenty of tasty things to eat at Oyamel (including grasshopper tacos !). [ok, the truth is that I eat birds as well; just not mammals].

              1. re: Dakota Guy

                I've got nothing against pescetarians; most of my family and good friends are vegetarian or pescetarian. But when I'm dining at a small-plate or family-style place, I limit what I order to things that will appeal to everyone, so there are often good dishes that don't get ordered. Just simple logistics.