Being from Los Angeles, I have been searching high and low in NYC for something to even come close to replicating the often-craved, authentic Mexican food I can find readily available at home. There's the Mexican take-out joints run by Chinese people, and they have decent, cheap food, but the meat always seems like it could double in a Mongolian beef dish as well. Chipotle makes a decent burrito, but come on, burritos are more American than apple pie at this point.
So when the oh-so-reliable blog Midtown Lunch alerted me to a new Mexican food purveyor near my office, I had to check it out. Taqueria Nixtamalito excited me because the name alone wasn't dumbed down to something a typical American office worker could say easily (not that it didn't take everyone a while to learn the correct pronunciation of Chipotle, but that's a different story). The "permanent cart," I'll call it, is an offshoot of Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona, Queens. They've been dishing out fresh made tortillas, tamales and enchiladas (and wholesaling to NYC staples like Mexicue, Dos Toros Tacos and Rosa Mexicano) and decided to take their show to the big leagues by opening in a space just south of the Municipal Building (1 Centre Street).
When I arrived at 12:15 on a beautiful Tuesday, the line was about five people deep. I read that it can get much longer so I decided to take lunch on the earlier side. For such a small place, I was happy to see such a large menu. Tamales are one of my favorite foods if they're made right, and Taqueria Nixtamalito offered several varieties including chicken mole, chipotle with pork and chicken, and verde with pork all $3.50. The taco menu was also extensive and included chicken ($2.50), pork ($2.50), barbacoa ($2.75), carnitas ($2.50), shrimp ($3.00) and fish ($3.00). Rounding out the menu were chicken mole enchiladas, tortas, guacamole and salads. They also sell the Mexican soda Jarritos!
Although I was tempted by the chicken mole enchiladas, I couldn't pass up what I thought would hopefully be the most amazing (read = only) tamale I've had in years. I ordered the shrimp taco and chicken mole tamale. The cashier asked me if I'd like salsa and I said yes please. Then he made my day even more and asked if I'd like green or red. Salsa verde (green salsa) is amazing with tamales!
|Chicken Mole Tamale|
|Tamale Post-Salsa Verde|
I covered my tamale in the smoky salsa verde and enjoyed the mix of flavors with the mole. There were large pieces of shredded chicken that I enjoyed until I was scraping the extra off of the corn husk. For $6.50, this was a pretty filling lunch. I definitely could not eat two whole tamales without feeling super full. Next time I'm ordering the enchiladas. Who's with me?
The cashier said that they will soon be launching a system where customers can order online, but until then... Viva Taqueria Nixtamalito!