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Nov 9, 2000 04:16 PM


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Any place in Manhattan serving real tamales?

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  1. Robert-- Funny alias, but how are people going to get to know you (and your taste) if you switch your nametag?

    Perfect tamales at Restaurant Izucar de Matamoros (2282 Second Ave @117 St). For info, read the 10/10/2000 entry of my dining diary ("what jim had for dinner"), accessible via our homepage.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      Had dinner Sunday at Gnocco on 10th Street. Very pleasant, excellent pasta and gnoccoletti at a decent price.
      Stopped at Izucar de Matamoros on our way back to Jersey and got tamales to go. Excellent. Thanks for the tip.

      1. re: Jim Leff

        MF (Madame Femme), my friend "Wheels" and I took a trip over to Izucar last night. Tragically they were out of tamales by the time we got there which was 6:30ish PM. We did however dine there and I am pleased to report that other foods there were also quite good.

        Now, the restaurant is not the most comfortable dining establishment I've ever patronized. First of all there appears to be some sort of live music venue in the basement. The band that was playing last night was certainly enthusiastic and their enthusiasm was evidenced by the amazing vibrations coming through the floor accompanied by muffled but still loud poppish music. This however did not satisfy either the management or the patrons who seemed to feel that an antiphonally blaring jukebox AND a television declaiming the news in Spanish would somehow improve matters. Oh well, but then we're not here for ambiance are we?

        So onto the chow. We tried Chiles Rellenos, Chalupas, Gorditas, and Guacomole. The Guac was excellent a nice large serving, fresh as a juvenile delinquent, with chunks of onion and creamy delicious avocado. The Chiles Rellenos were also nice, stuffed with a fresh Mexican queso, light and tasty with a nice mellow burn. Frankly I could have done without the refried beans and yellow rice this dish was served with as they were unexceptional, but I suppose they are de riguer. The molcajete full of tomatillo salsa was serviceable if not extraordinary. Corn tortillas and the items served on them (Chalupas) were a tinch disappointing as the tortillas were nothing special, but the Gorditas in their masa pockets were excellent. Many of the dishes were served with a light coat of some kind of a cream sauce (maybe a watered down Mexican sour cream) and a dusting of grated queso fresca. Lots of wedges of juicy lime are placed on the table for you to squeeze over everything in sight.

        Service was friendly, if slightly bewildered by our presence but one should really bring a Spanish speaker along to keep things running smoothly.

        A fine meal was had by three including dos Coronas and a shot of Tequila for $45 including a 20%+ tip

        We will definitely be back for the tamales! All Hail the Alpha Hound!

      2. n
        Neilson Abeel

        Go to 39th street and 8th avenue in Manhattan. There are several vendors selling tamales out of pots placed in those small shopping carts. They also sell mangoes on a stick. They usually have three kinds:pork, chicken, and jalapeno. These people are usually there between 5 and 7pm. Be brave! I have eaten these many times and never been sick. I'm no expert on tamales, but these are moist and dense. The jalapeno are pretty spicy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Neilson Abeel

          Good call on the tamales, Nielson, thanks! I was starving after work today, so swung by that corner on the way home. Found only one vendor -- a woman and her son, she was serving the tamales and he was slicing the mangoes and arranging them on the sticks(which looked great, BTW). I opted for one chicken and one pork tamale -- only a buck each! Had to endure about half an hour on the A train though, with a steaming bag of goodies in hand. Way too crowded to eat, so I tried to distract myself with the latest issue of Saveur. Unfortunately, I got to the article with the recipe for sweet tamales and couldn't restrain myself anymore. I managed a bite of each while on the subway and just polished off the rest accompanied by a bottle of Yuengling Black & Tan.

          I too am not an expert on tamales, but these really hit the spot. Moist and flavorful, the pork one was pleasantly spicy while the chicken was mild. Just the thing to take the edge off before planning dinner. I'm curious to know what our resident tamale experts have to say about them -- all I know is that if these are only average, I can't wait to try the great ones! The only point of reference I have are the ones at the little grocery near my apartment on 207th b/t B'way and Cooper. It's been at least a year since I had those, but I remember them being good. Maybe I'll drop by this weekend to see how they compare...