El Mestizo might be relatively new to the Seattle restaurant scene, but it came out of the gate booming—serving a menu that reads like a

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Best Mexican Small Plates

El Mestizo

El Mestizo might be relatively new to the Seattle restaurant scene, but it came out of the gate booming—serving a menu that reads like a greatest-hits collection of Mexican resort food, abuelita cuisine, and bar grub gone upscale. There are alambres straight out of some Mexico City all-night diner; Pueblan chile en nogada (fat, roasted poblano peppers stuffed with what amounts to a Mexican picadillo of ground beef and fruit in a nutty cream sauce); huaraches done six different ways; a mole that is unlike almost any mole served anywhere else in the world; and an excellent spread of simple, street-style tacos. But the best thing about the kitchen here is its way with the little things—the picaditas and tostadas topped with black beans and chicken; the molletes that are like a midnight version of sur de la frontera toast points, topped with refritos negros, queso fresco, and thin, sour Mexican crema. The big plates at El Mestizo are great and the menu itself is a rollicking tour of the high and low of the modern Mexican canon, but after a few nights spent here slouching against the bar, drinking margaritas and snacking, what you'll crave are the small plates and little bites that can easily be assembled, one by one, into a feast of epic proportion. —Jason Sheehan 526 Broadway, 324-2445

 
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