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New Tortilleria opening in Corona

c
corgi Jan 6, 2009 07:41 AM

I stumbled over a new place, Tortilleria Nixtamal about a block away from Leo's Latticini (Mama's) in Corona. It's not open yet. I spoke to the owner and she told me that they're waiting for Health Department certification of their Mexican made tortilla machine which is proudly installed in the front window for all to see. They plan to sell tortillas, fresh masa, tamales and drinks when they open up, with a further expansion of the kitchen to a full scale taqueria hopefully just a few months away. The owner seemed to me to be a first or second generation Mexican-American drawing on her heritage to start an artisanal food business. At any rate, the whole thing looks promising. As I am in that neighborhood with some frequency I plan to keep an eye on this place.

Tortilleria Nixtamal
104-05 47th Ave.
Corona, NY 11368
(718) 699-2434

 
  1. E Eto Jan 6, 2009 08:25 AM

    Wow, that's exciting news. I hope they really mean it with the fresh masa. If it's true, it'll fill a large void in NYC.

    1 Reply
    1. re: E Eto
      c
      corgi Jan 6, 2009 12:58 PM

      Well The spanish side of their announcement card says, "Vendemos masa de nixtamal para tortillas y tamales por pedido"

    2. Miss Needle Jan 6, 2009 11:30 AM

      I am hardly in that neighborhood but will be if they have fresh masa.

      1. s
        SpiceJunkies Jan 7, 2009 09:27 AM

        Funny I am eathing one of their tamales (picante) right now. And I have some of their tortilla's for my dinner tonight. I am so excited about this place. I've spoken extensively with the owner, Shauna I think, and she really has a great attitude about the business.
        They are going to expand from just tortillas and tamales to a full blown taqueria that will focus on authentic and organic/local ingredients. I work near by so I can't wait for the full buildout to be complete. Plus the owner is really nice with a passionate attitude.

        I think the proximity to Mama's will help too. Lots of foot traffic, and maybe the latino players will order from this place as opposed to Mama's? I hope she makes it.

        The tamale I have just taken a break from is quite good. It is large enough to warrant $2, and more meat than is in most tamales. I also like that the sauce (paste) that the meat is in is actually quite spicy, and has a strong pasilla chile flavor. Not a bland red salsa at all. Yummmm.

        3 Replies
        1. re: SpiceJunkies
          s
          stuartlafonda Jan 7, 2009 11:05 AM

          Hours? I will be there asap, who doesn't love a great tamale.

          1. re: stuartlafonda
            s
            SpiceJunkies Jan 8, 2009 05:35 AM

            I don't know, you'll have to call. I am alsway there are lunch time.

            1. re: stuartlafonda
              c
              corgi Jan 8, 2009 05:52 AM

              The little card that I got from them says "Made hot from 11:30-8:00 every day (except Monday)"

          2. jcdaizy Jan 14, 2009 06:33 AM

            OmG... I am very picky about how much heat i can take but i must say THEIR TAMALES WERE SOOOO GOOD! They have a red one and green... THE RED IS AMAIZINGLY HOTT BUT INCREDIBLE IN FLAVOR! But i must say I will stick to the green one which is just as amaizin in flavor but lighter in heat (yesssssss). And yes they are not your lightly filled tamale... BUT LOADED WITH PORK! absolutely loved it. Cant wait for the chicken variety. Shauna is a great person and is very enthusiastic about what she does. YOU MUST TRY THIS PLACE =)

            7 Replies
            1. re: jcdaizy
              c
              corgi Jan 16, 2009 12:08 PM

              So yes, definitely fresh masa de nixtamal for sale here. Also, posole! You get a hearty bowl of posole, a tamale and a drink for $6 (see attached picture). The tamale is traditional in style, but way meatier and nice and spicy. Shauna is very friendly and she tells me that she's planning tacos al pastor, maybe fresh polenta (!), more seating, and a big screen telly for soccer.

               
              1. re: corgi
                s
                SpiceJunkies Jan 18, 2009 10:02 AM

                Al pastor freshly cut off a spit a la shwarma. The best al pastor I ever had, (Chavez Marker in Hayward CA) did their Al pastor that way. I completely forgot that the owner was telling me about this. I not so subtlely suggested topping the spit with a whole pina...just like Chavez. But judging from the tamales they will get it right. Although I enjoy tamales for a cheap, warming lunch they don't wow me like a great al pastor taco can.
                I'm interested to see how the place is put all together. The space still has a not completed vibe, that makes it a little odd for eating in. It feels like an accounting office, but with a tortilla machine and bags of nixmatal on the floor.

                1. re: SpiceJunkies
                  b
                  burton Jan 19, 2009 08:30 AM

                  Just to clarify, the tacos al pastor are still in the preparation stage. For now they offer tamales and posole, both of which are really good.

                2. re: corgi
                  Polecat Feb 28, 2009 07:19 AM

                  Glad to hear they're planning to install more seating; right now, there's a big expanse of awkward, empty space. The fish tacos - three to an order - that I had yesterday had a nice tangy, bite as well as a good, simple flavor. They're a nice snack to down on the run, but I look forward to a nice sit-down at this place soon.
                  P.

                  1. re: Polecat
                    Joe MacBu Feb 28, 2009 02:07 PM

                    I was also informed that they're planning a tiki bar on the outdoor patio.

                    1. re: Joe MacBu
                      Polecat Feb 28, 2009 03:57 PM

                      Perfect.

                      I look forward to the tiki bar for the warm weather to come, and a hop-skip-jump over to Timmy O's Frozen Custard for dessert.
                      p.

                      1. re: Polecat
                        r
                        Ricky Feb 28, 2009 06:59 PM

                        Dont forget to stop by empanada cafe nearby too.

              2. j
                jmax Jan 26, 2009 03:57 AM

                Tried this place yesterday and really enjoyed it. I didn't find the spicy pork to be that spicy - it was just right. My favorite was the Italian - a sausage and pepper tamale. It was just a little more moist than the others - probably because of the extra pork fat. The posole was good - my wife liked it more than I did. Went to the forzen custard place down the street afterwards - enjoyed that as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jmax
                  s
                  stuartlafonda Jan 26, 2009 09:01 AM

                  I was there Saturday, this place is terrific. The tamale was moist and tasty and I thought the chipotle pork was spicy enough. The thing is very large. For $2 you get one that is 6 inches long, 3 inches wide, 1 inch thick and a weight of 5 1/2 oz. It was full nearly end to end.

                2. g
                  Greg Feb 10, 2009 04:39 AM

                  I stopped in here for the second time this past weekend and can confidently say you won't find prouder or friendlier owners. More importantly, the food is delicious. I was told that while they're getting the place up to speed, they've been renting it out for celebrations. This coming Wednesday they'll be watching the US v. Mexico FIFA world cup qualifier and selling fish tacos. I understand that there won't be too many Gringos there to root for the US, so if you're in the area it sounds like a good time.

                  -----
                  Tortilleria Nixtamal
                  104-05 47th Ave, Queens, NY 11368

                  1. n
                    northriver Feb 15, 2009 03:29 PM

                    This place is amazing. The fish tacos and enchiladas (3 for $5) were delicious, and the tamale ($2.00) was excellent. The masa and tortillas are made fresh from corn in a molido imported from Mexico. The owners also sell warm tortillas and fresh masa by the pound. Well worth the easy ride from Manhattan on the #7 train to 103rd St.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: northriver
                      b
                      BigV Feb 18, 2009 11:38 AM

                      Too bad they weren't open on President's Day at about 11am when I drove by. I'll try again.

                      1. re: BigV
                        Joe MacBu Feb 18, 2009 01:17 PM

                        They're closed on Mondays, as mentioned by corgi above.

                      2. re: northriver
                        b
                        billhill Feb 18, 2009 02:38 PM

                        Fish tacos? Now I'm going...

                        1. re: billhill
                          adamclyde Feb 20, 2009 07:59 AM

                          what kind of fish tacos do they have? Baja style? (battered, fried, topped with sliced cabbage and spicy crema?) This place is already the find of the year. Good baja style fish tacos would make it the find of the decade. Seriously.

                          1. re: adamclyde
                            s
                            SpiceJunkies Feb 25, 2009 10:36 AM

                            Fried with some fantastic pico de gallo and they're using skate for now. Really good, my only complaint was that I could eat about 10 of them...hehe. They were really tasty and I love that they don't put too much stuff in them. Very clean taste.

                      3. m
                        MarcInSunnysideGardens Mar 4, 2009 09:45 AM

                        Mostly echoing:

                        -We chatted with Fernando, one of the co-owners, a bit while waiting for our to-go order. He's one of those people who seemingly effortlessly exudes genuine niceness, and we accordingly had that instant sense of wanting the place to succeed. All of which means little if the place isn't any good, but still.

                        -The tortilla making machine is pretty freakin' enormous, and a little noisy. It's kinda hilarious that it's just plopped down there in what is effectively still the dining room. I find corn tortillas that aren't freshly made to be, usually, rubbery and somewhat bitter. These are obviously much better than that, and the modest portions on the fillings serve to really showcase the tortillas--I think that really works much better as a style when the tortillas are worth showcasing, of course.

                        -We had a number of tamales as well as fish tacos, and the least good thing was the chipotle tamales, which were still fine. Everything else was very, very good, and everything else was, I thought, aggressively spiced as compared to what I'm used to in Astoria or Sunnyside or J Heights. Too spicy? No. But it will make you wanna drink a beer.

                        -They are selling bad-ass baseball caps that simply have the word "NIXTAMAL" across them in a yellow san-serif font. These are serious lids--the only reason I didn't buy one is I don't usually wear baseball caps, but I may have to start.

                        -Is this a destination or a neighborhood joint? Yes, it's a destination, though I could imagine someone hauling himself all the way out there and not being totally blown away by what is essentially a modest operation, other than the fresh tortillas being incessantly cranked out. It's nice to have it 4 miles from where I live, a short car ride away. Looking forward to seeing how they grow this place in the months to come.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
                          Polecat Mar 4, 2009 10:32 AM

                          Hey, any place that's thinking "tiki bar" is a destination.
                          p.

                        2. adamclyde Mar 12, 2009 01:43 PM

                          I stopped by yesterday. Had a great chat with one of the owners. Unfortunately, their tortilla press was broken. They were expecting it to be back up and running later that day.

                          But, it did give me a chance to focus on their other stuff. First, their pozole is wonderful. It's a clear variety, with a nice deep flavorful broth, big chunks of hominy and tender meat. They give you a dried oregano, radish, onion and lettuce as garnish. Great for a cold day.

                          I tried three different kinds of tamales. chicken with mole negro, chicken with jalapeno, and rajas con queso. All three were very good. The mole negro was great... and pretty rare out here. The rajas con queso had tomato in it. It was a surprise at first, but gave the tamale a nice dimension.

                          Anyhow, I'll have to go back for the main even (tacos).

                          1. t
                            tookyt Mar 12, 2009 02:07 PM

                            I just ate there today. Very good food. Very nice people. I had the recession special today, but I plan to return for tacos and more tamales.

                            And I got the full tour of the place and a mini-lesson on corn and the poor packaging skills of shipping companies in Mexico.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tookyt
                              adamclyde Mar 13, 2009 08:52 AM

                              glad the tortilla grinder and press machine is running again. I've got to go back soon...

                            2. p
                              pellegrino31 Mar 30, 2009 07:25 AM

                              Just wanted to add my experience with this place - my fiance and I finally had a chance to go yesterday for lunch and split the guac and then the fish and pork tacos. Both were great, though the pork was especially good. Loved the cold Mexican coke they have too.

                              The owner that was there was so nice, and when we initially placed our order he was so apologetic about the fact that our order would take a bit of time since they just ran out of tortillas and needed to make a new batch! We assured him that we were more than happy to wait for the tortillas, which were amazing.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: pellegrino31
                                s
                                stuartlafonda Mar 30, 2009 08:01 AM

                                This place is a gem. I was there with the family on Saturday at 7 and we were the only customers.Fernando was setting up long folding tables in anticipation of the Mexico Costa Rico game starting at 8, but when we left at 8 only two other people had come in. The food was outstanding. Fish tacos with pico de gallo and jalapeno and pork tamale were delicious. The highlight was the chicken enchilada mole. On a trip to Mexico last month I ate this dish everywhere. Nowhere was it as good as at Nixtamal. The difference was that this mole, although a tad less would have been better, had a backround note of heat so that it did not taste firey when you ate but you could feel the heat. Fernando said it was his grandmother's recipe. It was four rolled tortillas smothered in mole with some crumbled white cheese and scattered onions. The tamales were $2-2.50, fish tacos were three for $5 and the chicken mole was $6. You just can't eat much better and certainly not this inexpensivly.

                                1. re: stuartlafonda
                                  phunkykim Apr 1, 2009 12:23 PM

                                  do they have a liquor license? or can you byob?

                                  1. re: phunkykim
                                    Joe MacBu Apr 1, 2009 03:10 PM

                                    They don't serve booze, but would probably let you bring your own. It'd be legal under NY law since they usually have under 20 seats (unless they've already applied for an alcohol license for that potential tiki bar).

                              2. d
                                davisready Apr 2, 2009 10:36 AM

                                This place sounds great! I'm definitely gonna have to take a trip out there this weekend.

                                1. Miss Needle Apr 27, 2009 05:49 AM

                                  Terrific restaurant. Kind of out-of-the-way for me, but worth it. It seems that everybody's talking about the tamales. But I think the tacos are where it's at. That's where you can taste their wonderful fresh tortillas. Really different than what you would get at the grocery store. Their tortilla is softer, more pliable and has a nuttier taste while grocery store tortillas have the texture of fruit leather. And it's very different than the fresh tortillas made from maseca as well taste and texture wise. We had the pork tacos, and it was a perfect marriage of the super-fresh tortillas and the well-seasoned meat. I would have loved to try the fish tacos, but unfortunately I'm allergic to it.

                                  We also got a couple of tamales. Originally I ordered three, thinking they would be the size of what I normally see from the corn husk tamales. She warned me that they are really large. So I got two. Yup -- I could only finish half of each one! They were huge compared to what I'm used to. Got the chicken mole and chicken and pork in chipotle sauce. Good ratio of masa to filling and very tasty. My only quibble is that I think they need more fat, and it's rare for me to say that as I have the tendency to sometimes sound like that annoying Japanese judge on Iron Chef America who complains that things are too oily. It was a bit on the dry side. But still very tasty.

                                  The owners are incredibly nice. I hope they do succeed. Prices extremely reasonable for what you're getting. It may be out of the way for a lot of readers on this board, but I think it's worth it, even if you're just stopping to pick up a package of fresh tortillas.

                                  Tip: The tortilla machine was giving off an ungodly amount of heat which will probably be murder in the middle of summer. They told me that they were going to start making their tortillas earlier so that they don't have to heat up the place. So if you want just-made tortillas, better to go early than later.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                    g
                                    Greg Apr 27, 2009 12:24 PM

                                    Glad you enjoyed it. The reason most of the posts above refer only to the tamales is because the tacos are a new addition. When they first opened, they were only selling tamales and posole.

                                    1. re: Greg
                                      janie May 10, 2009 05:26 PM

                                      Stopped by there briefly after Timmy O's ( great place), and just got a Tamale with tomatoes, peppers and cheese for $2.50 to try it out. It was huge and very good. I look forward to going back and trying the fish tacos. Nice owner, will be back to try more. Also glad to hear they use white meat chicken in the mole tacos as I prefer white to dark chicken.

                                      1. re: janie
                                        w
                                        wew May 11, 2009 03:39 PM

                                        Huge tamale after frozen custard. ok

                                        1. re: wew
                                          janie May 11, 2009 07:45 PM

                                          yeah, I know that's why we got one thing, because we really went for custard for our little boy. (and of course, we had to have some, too!)

                                    2. re: Miss Needle
                                      Miss Needle Oct 25, 2009 02:20 PM

                                      Felt that I should report that I've been there a couple of times since my original report. Tamales were much moister than my first time. Perhaps my first time was an aberration or perhaps they started adding more fat to the masa. And the sausage and mozzarella tamale really worked!

                                      1. re: Miss Needle
                                        s
                                        stuartlafonda Oct 25, 2009 04:55 PM

                                        As long as we are updating info on this place, I have to mention that they have set up a sweet spot outside and adjacent. What had been a parking are has been transformed with the addition of picnic tables and a wall mounted 50+ Sony Bravia. On weekends the area also has the al pastor spit and the carnita pot. Watching the football game and eating their awesome food has been a great fall experience.

                                        1. re: stuartlafonda
                                          g
                                          Greg Oct 25, 2009 06:11 PM

                                          I'm pretty sure that the carnitas and al pastor are only there on the weekends - at least during the colder months.

                                          1. re: Greg
                                            Miss Needle Oct 26, 2009 06:38 AM

                                            A note: If you want the carnitas and al pastor, I wouldn't go when they just open. I was there around noon. They told me that I would have to wait about a couple of hours.

                                    3. chilindrina May 11, 2009 09:09 PM

                                      we stopped by last week (cinco de mayo). the food was very good, but the best part was the masa, which they sell by the pound. normally i make tortillas at home with maseca, which is definitely better than storebought tortillas, but let's face it, they're not great. however, i had no idea how not great maseca tortillas actually were until i tried this masa. when i took it out of the bag, i could smell the corn immediately. and the results were like a revelation. every single tortilla browned beautifully and puffed up perfectly like little balloons, which is what they are supposed to do. with maseca, i get a puffed up tortilla once for about every fifty i make, it seems. and their flavor, as everyone has noted, is exceptional. really a find, and definitely something that's been missing here in nyc. apparently they sell a lot of tortillas every morning-- no surprise. next time i'm there i'm going to buy several pounds and freeze it. i don't know if i can ever go back to maseca again....

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: chilindrina
                                        Joe MacBu May 11, 2009 09:21 PM

                                        They put a little bit of maseca in their dough for the tortillas (but not for the tamales).
                                        If you happen to get a tour of their kitchen, you'll spot large bags of it.

                                        1. re: Joe MacBu
                                          chilindrina May 12, 2009 05:17 AM

                                          i did see the kitchen-- but didnt see any maseca.

                                          1. re: chilindrina
                                            adamclyde May 12, 2009 07:07 AM

                                            they add a bit to fresh masa to the nixtamal to give it the right texture. It's a small amount, but adds more lightness, I believe they said...

                                            1. re: adamclyde
                                              s
                                              SuzyP May 12, 2009 07:58 AM

                                              You got it backwards. They add a little maseca to the nixtamal. Maseca is the flour.

                                              1. re: SuzyP
                                                chilindrina May 12, 2009 08:16 AM

                                                I don't get it, why would they add maseca to the nixtamal? maseca is like dried masa, which is completely unnecessary if you already have real masa. traditionally tortillas are made straight from fresh masa, which is made from the nixtamal. there is no flour involved. maseca is a convenience product for people who can't make and grind their own nixtamal at home.

                                                1. re: chilindrina
                                                  Joe MacBu May 12, 2009 12:28 PM

                                                  The owners feel that it adds pliability/extensibility to the tortillas, if I recall correctly.

                                                  1. re: Joe MacBu
                                                    chilindrina May 12, 2009 01:44 PM

                                                    okay, so i stopped by this afternoon to pick up some masa, and asked shauna what the deal is. she told me that they put nothing in the nixtamal besides mineral lime, water, and corn. so when they make the masa, it's 100% fresh masa, and this is the masa that they sell. however, because fresh masa is so dense, the machine can't handle pure masa to make tortillas, so right now they are using a mixture of about 80% masa to 20% maseca for the tortilla machine. but, she said that in 3-4 weeks they expect to have a new part which will allow them to make tortillas from pure masa.

                                                    so, that's what's going on with the masa.

                                                2. re: SuzyP
                                                  adamclyde May 13, 2009 04:52 AM

                                                  Suzy, hah! Thanks! that's what I meant... :)

                                        2. s
                                          SpiceJunkies May 13, 2009 07:40 AM

                                          I'm just happy my work is so close. I'm totally addicted to the Pozole for lunch.

                                          1. j
                                            jntnmlr May 22, 2009 08:30 PM

                                            After reading the posts here, my wife and I headed over there. The tamales are the best I've had in NYC and the chicken mole enchiladas were fabulous with a bit more heat than you get at most places. The owner, Shauna, was wonderfully gracious and took us on a little tour showing us how the masa is made. They seem to be on a mission to make great food in a traditional way, something special. I wonder if they can really make it without serving the usual rice and beans but I hope they do.

                                            1. m
                                              MarcInSunnysideGardens Jun 22, 2009 10:32 AM

                                              I was in Nixtamal about 11:30 yesterday AM to pick up 5 lbs of tortillas for a pig roast I attended in the afternoon. A few comments:
                                              1) They've set up a table outside, which looked fairly appealing.
                                              2) Outdoor space next to restaurant looked like it was being cleared for additional outdoor seating (the discussed tiki bar?), though that is speculative on my part.
                                              3) If you ever need a big order of tortillas like this, and you fear that coming too early (they open at 11am) will mean they don't have that many tortillas made yet, you'd be wrong. At 11:30 there looked to be about 30 lbs of tortillas that had already been made that AM, if not more.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
                                                b
                                                BigV Jun 27, 2009 02:50 PM

                                                Finally made the trip to Nixtamal today and was very happy with the experience. My fiance who is from LA and thus very picky about her Mexican food got the recession special (I love the Gray's Papaya recession special as well!) which was a bowl of posole, a tamale, a tostada, and water for $5. She thought the posole was excellent and comparable to what she'd find back home. I tried 2 tamales- the green (excellent) and the Italian (pretty good although I tried it more for the novelty- sausage, pepper, onion, mozzarella, and some tomato sauce). Also bought some fresh tortillas to go. The service was super friendly and quick. Highly recommended.

                                              2. c
                                                corgi Sep 18, 2009 10:35 AM

                                                Nixtamal keeps getting better and better. On weekends (F,Sa,Su) they've added carnitas and al pastor done on a vertical rotisserie. They've got a sweet little outdoor section set up and the loving attention to detail really shows in everything they do. Here are some recent photos. The dishes shown are the Tamal Especial de Italiano (sausage, tomato and mozarella), and the Enchiladas de Mole Poblano y Pollo. Both really excellent.

                                                 
                                                 
                                                 
                                                1. subinai Oct 26, 2009 02:25 PM

                                                  What are their hours on the weekend?

                                                  1. mushimushi427 Nov 7, 2009 04:45 PM

                                                    We just ate at Tortilleria Nixtamal for the first time and were thrilled to have the 50 cent tour. The owners are warm, friendly and very proud of their restaurant. It was a wonderful experience. Fernando explained the soaking and grinding process as we looked at the corn soaking in the holding tank downstairs. He told us that he has corn shipped in from Illinois because that particular farm sells the variety of corn he wants. The whole place smelled terrific since they just finished a new batch of tamales. We can't wait to go back.

                                                    Oh yes, we walked over to Timmy O's Custard place in the cold night to have some delicious, creamy, 90% fat free custard ;). It was a treat to meet such happy, proud owners of some incredible eateries.

                                                    -----
                                                    Timmy O's
                                                    49-07 104th St, Queens, NY 11368

                                                    Tortilleria Nixtamal
                                                    104-05 47th Ave, Queens, NY 11368

                                                    1. g
                                                      Greg Dec 7, 2009 09:11 AM

                                                      I was at Nixtamal this Saturday, and their special dish was a quesadilla made with chicken tinga. It may have been the best thing I've eaten there - we started with one, but had to order a second. Given the freshness of the tortilla and the taste of the tinga, it was superior to any of the quesadillas sold in Red Hook.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Greg
                                                        adamclyde Dec 7, 2009 09:21 AM

                                                        I was there on Saturday too... didn't get the quesadilla, unfortunately, but enjoyed the al pastor tacos. I snapped a picture of the al pastor spit and the vat of carnitas.

                                                        The al pastor was great. The carnitas was good too, though I've had better at some taco trucks nearby. But still very, very good.

                                                         
                                                         
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