Cold Tamale (update on Tamal -- San Francisco, CA)
I have agonized over this post. I really hate to do it. Being a restaurant whore, I know that running a restaurant is a tricky business. But I have a reputation to uphold and I must report that on my last visit to Tamal, I was sorely disappointed.
What sucks even more is that the chef's daughter was a student of mine. A student who I adore. But that doesn't change the fact that the restaurant is not the smorgasborg of delights I had discovered on my first visit.
On my last trip there, it simply wasn't very good. I found that the shrimp tamale I was so enamored with before had a bitter taste. And the masa was super dry. Like cotton dry. On top of that, I was pretty ill later in the evening (which may or may not be a result of the meal). The other things we had that night were not bad, but they weren't great. And we're in San Francisco, so you really have no reason to eat anything that's less than great. Especially a sub par tamale since we've got the fan-fucking-tastic tamale lady selling them cheaper than yo mama.
This hurts me so. The building blocks are there, it just seems consistency isn't a strong suit. And for me, consistency is the hallmark of a good restaurant, so...
At any rate, I cannot in good conscience stand by my previous review. I still contend you can get a good meal there, but it's not a guarantee. Sucky for me, sucky for you, sucky for them, sucky for all.
"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."