Los Angeles (last visit: October 2010).
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 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.
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.
Inexpensive. The tamale was about $3; the goat stew was about $10.
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