Remember the late, lamented tamale place on 4th Ave and 11th Street? I don't think there's any connection, but these guys are channeling the spirit. They might even be better. (Though it's a little 'apples-and-oranges,' since the old tamale place mostly featured outstanding Oaxeno tamales, while these are more classic northern Mexican corn-husk packages).
Where am I talking about? You're not going to believe this, but F Train Bagels, a seemingly unexceptional bagel deli that's apparently run (or staffed) by Mexicans. Anyone know it?
There's a little hand-written sign outside advertising tamales, so we gave them a try, and the cheese ones, at least, were outstanding. Big, most, mushy-yet-firm. Generous with both cheese and jalapenos. Two of these would really fill you up, whereas left to my own devices, I could probably put away 3-4 usual-size ones. At $1.50, they're a culinary and budgetary revelation. And the fact that they're so improbably excellent in such a place just made it that much more of a triumph. They also have pork -- and probably beef or chicken, too, depending on the day -- but I'm a veggie, so I can't vouch for the others. But I can't wait to go back and have more and get the story behind the bagel-tamale connection. Ah, New York.
It's on the far end of Smith St. at 9th -- definitely NOT trendy part of Smith St.! So next time you're biking around Gowanus, or driving en route to Lowe's, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, etc., pop by and check it out.