Finally went to Tamal this week. I have a bias against quasi ethnic food and sangria with trendy ingredients, and the posts didn't encourage me. But my dinner companion loves tamales and was game, and parking was easy.
We shared: the huitlacoche tamal, crab empanadas, tuna tacos, albondigas, and an order of tostones. To drink we had a glass of sangria, a glass of the Chateau de Jau and of the Groth sauvignon blanc, and an agua fresca, which was chicha morada. For dessert we shared a slice of cheesecake made with Laura Chenel goat cheese and topped with dulce de leche.
The food was truly uninspired, starting with the complimentary olives. Only the crab empanadas shone, with an overly buttery pastry crust and a wonderful roasted sauce (but marred by an artistic spray of mustard). Tuna tacos were especially disappointing--small, with not especially fresh squares of tuna, an unnecessary green salsa, and a paste of pumpkin seeds that was almost indistinguishable. He didn't finish the meatballs.
Service couldn't have been more welcoming or helpful; our small plates were changed three times. And it's a warm and romantic space, ideal for a cozy conversation. Drink prices are high.
Our total came to $87. Riding home, I couldn't help wishing we'd gone to Zeitgeist to tracked down the tamale lady and pocketed the change.