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Jul 14, 2005 05:01 PM

Rico's tamales in Sunset Park - now a restaurant?

  • j

I went there last night (5th Ave and 46th St), never having been there before, at about 9 pm. The stand was closed up but there was a restaurant just around the corner that is called La Guera (with an umlaut over the the u) which said "Rico's Tamales" on a sandwich board in front of it. What's going on? Anyway, I got two tamales there, one with mole and one with salsa verde (they were out of the chicken with red sauce). The mole tamale was a little bit rich and messy but palatable, and the salsa verde tamale was pleasantly spicy. I also got two tacos, one with carnitas and one al pastor, which were alright, not much of a standout on the 5th Avenue strip.

If these weren't the real Rico's things, I still want to try Rico's, so I'm wondering if anyone knowns what the deal is. I happened to catch a glimpse of the food safety license-thing and it was dated May 31 so this may be a pretty new development for the Rico's folk.

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  1. The Tamales Oaxaquenos lady (the red shack) is connected to Rico's - but I never knew they had her tamales . . .

    She sends someone in there to get drinks when you order tamales at the stand.

    I'm thinking you had tamales from the right lady, but not as fresh as they would be from the shack...god are those things good!

    5 Replies
    1. re: pitu

      yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. I have no idea of the connection to the actual restaurant - but if you order a tamale that isn't in the cooler behind the stand, they also send someone behind/underneath to grab them. Presumably they are going to the back kitchen of the restaurant? I don't know. Sounds like I'll just need to go back and order one from each and compare.

      Did the restaurant serve oaxacan tamales? (oaxaquenos?) If so, then I'd make a confident bet the rico's tamale lady is certainly making them for the restaurant as well as her booth. I wonder if prices are different. I think her tamales are usually $1.50 or in that range.

      Oh, and yes, those tamales are very, very messy. But man, the oaxacan ones are so amazing...

      1. re: adamclyde

        They did have oaxacan tamales on the menu, although I didn't order them (sounds like a mistake on my part at this point! There's always next time ...) They were also $1.50.

        1. re: JackS

          A little late to the party here, but isn't "ricos" a plural form of "delicious"? Could that explain what you're seeing here - a generic description instead of a brand?

          1. re: Eliot

            Thanks for pointing that out. There are so many places on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park with "Ricos" in the name, and many of them seem unrelated and/or in direct competition with each other.

            I'm a little late to the Sunset Park party myself, but I went on an eating binge there yesterday and fell in love with the neighborhood. The bar for Mexican snacks is set quite high...everything I tasted (a Oaxacan tamale from the aforementioned stand/restaurant, two tacos from Ricos Tacos off some sidestreet, and a huitlacoche quesadilla from a deli/type place) was better than what I've sampled on Roosevelt Avenue. Ricos indeed. I think the tamale had been steamed in a banana good.

            PS I started my eating tour at 59th St. and ate my way up toward 45th. That's the way to do seems to go slightly downhill across from and north of the park (must be due to proximity to Park Slope!)


          2. re: JackS

            I finally had tamales oax from the restaurant instead of the stand...and they were not as good. This was a weekend evening.

            still delicious, but not the pentultimate tamal experience which you get when they are fresh. And every time I've had them from the red shack, they have been almost custardy in their spicy steamy corny freshness . . .

            btw I think the oax kind (in banana leaves) are waaaay better than the corn husk wrapped kind, which of course are also delicious

            they make pretty good tacos in the restaurant, and plenty of other stuff....and I'm not turning my nose up at the tamales either . . . but if you want the sublime experience, I think it has to be from the shack. Has anyone asked her when she's there?