Cafe Society

Tarasco's New Latino Cuisine: Tamales on my mind

In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard -- south to north -- within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-up window and bar stool where food is served. Here's the report on this week's stop...

Did I just eat the best tamale of my life? The masa -- moist, fluffy and steaming -- did not conceal a meat filling, but instead hid gems of sweet corn. It wasn't slathered in a flamboyant, fiery sauce, but only a generous drizzle of Mexican crema, enough queso fresco to add a mild tang, and the barest inkling of chile verde that whispered from a sauce so light I at first mistook it for melted butter. The tantalizing touch of green and a demure heat that tingled like a first kiss had me scraping the husk for every last clinging drop of it. Simplicity. Magic. Perfection. The kitchen at Tarasco's New Latino Cuisine had once again delivered a plate of restrained and effortless beauty, this time in the form of an inglorious lump of dough wrapped in a homely dried maize leaf that Tarasco's had treated with the same affection that many upscale restaurants devote to trios of expensive proteins or exotic ingredients fawned over by the easily impressed. But this was just corn: earthy and humble masa, candy-sweet kernels, and a waft of woody, farmland perfume from the steamed wrapper.

See also:
- Between the Mississippi and the Mekong at Vietnam Bay Seafood and Grill
- Every day is like Tuesday at T-Wa Inn
- Baker's Palace Vietnamese sandwiches and craft beer: a match made on Federal

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation