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Quetzaly Taqueria in Malden

hcraddock | Aug 18, 201612:10 PM

Just stumbled across this place that quietly opened about a month ago in Maplewood Square. It seems to be authentically Mexican, not just Salvadoran + tacos like most of the options in Malden/Everett (not that I don't love papusas and the occasional plato tipico). While there are still a couple of issues for them to sort out, this place shows a lot of promise. It seems like they are doing a healthy online delivery business, although the store itself has been dead both times I visited.

In addition to the standard taco/burrito/enchilada selection, they also serve tlayudas and huaraches, two items rarely seen in the Boston area (at least in my experience). Fillings include all of the standards (pollo tinga, chorizo, al pastor, carnitas, carne asada, etc.) as well as some nice-to-have additions like lengua and cecina. Not sure why, but the menu also lists shawarma as an option?

The tacos are $3 each and come double-wrapped and topped with minced raw onion, pickled red cabbage, and a lime wedge. The chicken tinga was particularly good, with a well-developed sauce and long, tender threads of chicken. The al pastor included chunks of canned pineapple and was cooked a la plancha, not rotisserie-style. Fair enough, given they clearly aren't yet doing the type of high-volume business that good al pastor requires.

The burrito de lengua is much smaller than the mission-style monsters I am used to. At $8.50 it is not as good a deal as the tacos, but was a well constructed mix of meat, rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and guac, which was included in the price. The lengua was well-braised, both flavorful and very tender.

The huarache de chorizo was the star of the show. The chorizo was spot on, well seasoned and neither dry nor overly greasy, served on a delicious masa griddle cake, about 1/4 inch thick and with a healthy amount of char. It was topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and some cotija-like cheese.

I didn't try any of the desserts, but they appear to be made in-house and looked promising. I did have an ear of the grilled corn. At $3.50 for a full ear it was a nice treat, although it lacked mayo or any other discernible sauce, which also meant the sprinkled-on cotija had nothing to adhere to and just kind of rolled off onto the plate prior to the first bite.

They have both a tomato-based red salsa and a green salsa that is mostly just a puree of mild green chiles and cilantro. Both are perfectly serviceable, but oh how I yearn for Boston to adopt the west coast style salsa bar in every corner taco shop.

Definitely one to check out for those who live or work in the area (they are open for lunch), maybe worth a trip if you are on the hunt for a good huarache or tlayuda.

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