Find a seat in the dimly lit, elegant interior, preferably at the comfy corner bar with a view of the sleepy street below. Meals begin with an amuse-bouche of six rainbow-colored sauces crafted by chef Fernando Olea that serve as a jumping-off point for potential pairings with the rest of dinner. These include a negro, poblano, beet and apricot, blanco and verde, all of which provide subtle pops of flavor ranging from earthy and chocolatey to light and fruity, not to mention vegetal and spicy—served on tiny housemade tortillas. First-timers would do well to order the small appetizer plate, which provides a selection of tacos ranging in content from duck and pork belly to chapulines (grasshoppers), or huitlacoche (a special corn filling mixed with a mushroom that grows on ears of corn in Mexico). The small order yields four ($18) and the large eight ($25), and both come served with a tiny bit of tuna crudité in the center. We also gobbled the timbales, a trio of corn, beet and spinach cakes topped with poblano sauce and gruyere cheese ($13). All of this is inspired by the rich culinary traditions of Mexico City and a reminder of this regional cuisine's place in the world of fine dining.

Dinner
Mondays-Saturdays

.$$$.

Sazón
221 Shelby St., 

505-983-8604