The Tapatío may very well be right: Maybe their regional torta ahogada only can be served in its truest form in Guadalajara. Their birote bread cannot successfully be baked elsewhere, after all. That is still part of an ongoing investigation, and as Señor Villa only delivered a so-so sandwich, we felt it was fair to give one of their other dishes a shot. It couldn’t be denied that their ahogada toppings were legit.
During our second vetting session, we ordered the huarache, a masa based dish named for the type of sandal it is shaped as. And this time, Villa got it right.
As only is proper, the masa tortilla makes the huarache a winner from the base up. It’s thick and just fluffy enough to still have a bit of a bite to it. It could easily be eaten by itself, like a soft corn cookie, and that is a tribute to its flavors. Furthermore, the fluffiness makes the meal less filling than the size might suggest. Villa serves up a large huarache, one that holds you over for a good while, yet it doesn’t send you into any sort of food coma.
The beans are instantly flavorful – I can only assume lard has been applied generously – and goes well with the half-dozen avocado slices and the heavy sprinkles of cotija cheese. The al pastor is prepared just so.
I wouldn’t say there was anything downright wrong with the meal, though the lettuce was a bit… flat. One can also quibble that the $13.45 price point is a dollar or two too much, though, in all fairness, that did include the extra $2.50 for the al pastor.
I’m at peace, then, now that I have found harmony with Señor Villa. I may never be able to find a fully satisfying torta ahogada outside of Guadalajara, but at least this restaurant provides fully respectable South Mexican cuisine in Seattle.