Dávila is being modest when she calls her sauce "peanut butter." In reality, it's a complex, deeply layered sauce made from peanuts, browned with roasted garlic oil, potent chile de arbol, bay leaves, black peppercorn, and salt-cured tomatoes -- not exactly what you'd find in a cafeteria sandwich. The nutty sauce is drizzled over a plate of tender, crispy cubes of beef tongue. Topped with bright pink rings of hibiscus-pickled onions for an acidic punch, the dish arrives to the table looking like a piece of modernist art.
The idea of eating beef tongue might be hard for some people to wrap their head around, but Dávila is unapologetic in her cooking. Even items that have become staples of most Mexican restaurants in the United States are not as straightforward as they seem. The guacamole, which is satisfyingly smooth, arrives with a dusting of black ash made from serrano peppers. The draft margarita is made with delicately floral elderflower. And while, yes, there are tacos, fillings range from hearty smoked beer-can chicken to garlicky shrimp topped with grilled corn and pecans.