Mi Lindo Oaxaca was formerly a cash-only hole-in-the-wall with plastic-covered tables on Fort Worth Ave.; it’s now a bigger but still unpretentious restaurant on the corner of Willomet and Davis, where the best seats are on the first-floor balcony, where you’re protected even on a rainy day. It’s home to the tastes of a regional known for its complex flavors, its earthiness and ability to comfort.
Upstairs, it’s still growing into itself, lime green walls and a boxy feel softened by service that’s incredibly kind. (Even before they offer you the first margarita, which comes on the house.)
This is not a place to be timid. Tlayudas, massive flat tortillas, toasted till lightly charred, can come stuffed with grasshoppers, which taste like the shells of sunflower seeds, with a touch of natural tang. Scattered with lettuce, avocado slices, and cheese, they rest on a smooth underlayer of refried beans. A huarache with pork is a rough slipper of masa under a freight of diced meat, decadent from crema and melted cheese.
But don’t miss enmoladas, a stack of handmade tortillas enrobed in the house mole negro. Chocolatey, spicy, only mildly sweet, and rich with nuts and the warm rumble of toasted chiles, it’s the kind of mole a grandmother would make—the kind you’d find in Oaxaca. The humble dish easily outshines the meat on the side, especially if it’s dry grilled chicken. Better meat choices are tasajo (beef), cecina (pork ruddy with chiles), or chorizo.
Pan de yema, the thing you might be wondering about on the dessert menu, is a brioche-like, puffy egg bread. Now you know.
The new spot, like the old, is a love letter to a place. It’s the spot to hunt down flavors you can’t find elsewhere. The only thing missing is mezcal.