We had lunch at this tiny restaurant (which grew out of an insanely popular stand around the corner) over the weekend, as Christmas carols blasted from lamppost-mounted speakers outside on 5th Avenue and the temperature dipped into the ‘teens. To counter the brutal wind, we tried one of the weekend specials: consome y barbacoa. Was it good? Was it ever: a huge bowl of broth, the color of dark brick, rich with chunks of long-stewed goat meat and tendon. A quick stir revealed a generous amount of chickpeas lurking at the bottom. We squeezed in lime juice and added a handful of chopped cilantro, et voila (as my favorite Frenchman would say). Pure bliss. We also tried a couple of chorizo tacos, which came with cubes instead of the loose meat we were expecting. No matter. They were great, with a nice, garlicky flavor and good snap to the sausage, and a generous siding of radishes, chopped onion and cilantro, lime wedges, avocado, and mild, salty green sauce. I suppose we could have stopped there, but restraint isn’t the point (and besides, those tacos are tiny). We couldn’t leave without having a few of the signature item: tamales. We asked for one mole and one salsa verde, but received two of the latter. Oh well. With food this delicious (and cheap!), I’m not complaining about minor mix-ups. The tamales lived up to the hype, with soft, fluffy masa, tender chunks of chicken, and a truly fiery sauce. I could have eaten another two or three, easily. Next time. And oh, how I look forward to it!
La Guera/Ricos Tamales, 4603 5th Avenue, Brooklyn 11220
The Web site: http://www.sunset-park.com/mall/LAGUERA/menu.html
PS – Just read a few negative “reviews” of this place on Yelp, including one from a guy complaining that the tamales seemed “pre-cooked.” No shit. If they weren’t, you’d be waiting a couple of hours for your order.