I want to do right by this restaurant: Casa de Tamales.
I'm not a tamale fan, but this place has transformed me into a believer. Tamales are good--not the heavy, tasteless items that I once thought they were. Almost every tamale I've ever had has had too much masa, not enough filling.
Casa de Tamales gets it right. The tamales are small, but with just the right proportion of filling and masa. The chef makes traditional tamales, but s/he also experiments with a "gourmet" menu. The owners are from Michoacan, according to Alex, from the same town that his family is from. For Alex, eating at Casa de Tamales is like having his mother's home cooking, so we went there to celebrate Mother's Day.
I thought and thought before selecting. I decided on two--a soyrizo version and the chicken alfredo tamale. I wanted to try the soyrizo tamale because I like soyrizo, but also because it was topped with nopal. Since eating a nopal soup in Oaxaca, I've been longing for good nopal . . . which is what I found at Casa de Tamales. The soyrizo was good, but the nopal was what really stood out to me with its crunchy, fresh taste.
I loved the second tamale for the filling: chicken, roasted poblanos, potatoes, and casero cheese. The restaurant uses a jalapeno masa topped with a creamy tomatillo sauce and a black bean salsa. I know it sounds strange, but this was delicious, a fabulous combination of creaminess and spiciness.
The combination dishes come with sides of rice and pinto beans. I loved the rice, which is not something I say very often.
I want to try the more traditional tamales, too. Alex's shredded beef tamale with guacamole looked really good.
I'm so glad to have finally eaten a good tamale. No other version will ever live up to it, I fear.
Casa de Tamales
3747 W. Shaw