Monte Alban

Los Angeles (last visit: October 2010).
Mexican (Oaxacan).

Many, many (many) years ago, I spent a few days in Oaxaca. I remember the food to this day. When I read that Monte Alban was a Oaxacan restaurant, I was sold.

The Menu
The menu is typical of Mexican restaurants in the United States, but with a few twists. Thus, tamales are wrapped in banana leaves, and are moister than the more familiar corn husk-wrapped version. Mole negro, a dark, rich sauce, is used in several dishes. Molotes - fried tortilla and potato concoctions - aren't only from Oaxaca, but aren't common either.

It's an informal place, but fairly quiet.

The Food
I started with a tamal Oaxaqueño: a tamale cooked in a banana leaf, it was softer than most tamales wrapped in cork husks. Served with mole negro, it was a good start to the meal.

My main course was goat stew (it might have been listed as birria de chivo, but I'm not sure). A large bowl contained generous chunks of goat, in a dark rich broth. I'm not an expert on goat, but I thought this was very good.

I can't say if the food was authentic, but it was good. If you're in the area, it's worth a stop.

The Bill
Inexpensive. The tamale was about $3; the goat stew was about $10.

Index of Restaurants