Best Mexican Restaurant

Mezcaleria Oaxaca

Different Mexican states have their own distinctive cuisines, but the southwestern territory of Oaxaca boasts several within its borders. Situated on the Pacific Ocean and divided by the Sierra mountain ranges, the dishes from this corner of the country are as eclectic as they are delectable. For proof, look no further than Mezcaleria Oaxaca. An extension of Ballard's wildly popular Carta de Oaxaca, the menu features exquisite seafood (order the ceviche with orange-chipotle sauce; you won't regret it), meats slathered in rich mole sauces (exhibit A: the tamales encased in banana leaves), and tacos served atop handmade tortillas. Its crowning achievement, though, is barbacoa de cabrito: goat marinated in chile sauce and slow-cooked in a custom roaster in the cozy rear dining room. All this deliciousness ought to be washed down with a shot of mezcal, the smoke-imbued agave liquor that lends the restaurant its name; appropriately enough the bar stocks every variety currently available in Washington. KEEGAN HAMILTON 2123 Queen Anne Ave. N., 216-4446,

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