Atmosphere: Open and airy with high ceilings and adequate indoor/outdoor seating, but the decor is a tad cheesy and the classic rock station threw me off; call me old-fashioned but I’d want Spanish music!
Service: Order at the counter… we had our food before we could pay, and the employees were nice. The girl taking our order was helpful in answering my first timer inquires.
Savory Tamales | chile poblano and cheese, spicy chipotle beef, spicy chipotle chicken $ 3.75 each
Sweet Tamale | apple cinnamon with pecans $ 1.75
Loaded Steak Torta | melted cheese, onion, lettuce, pico de gallo, chiles $ 8
Regular menu items at The Tamale Place include tortas, soft corn tacos and nachos, while the remaining tamales are listed on a separate count down board to the side. They make the tamales fresh (a two day process) so due to quality control, they do run out! We arrived by 3PM and they had about 5-10 of each left.
I’m saddened to say that I haven’t crossed paths with many tamales in my day, but my picky partner swore that these were the second best he’d ever had, after “the ones from the little old ladies at the Murat christmas parties.” I just know these puppies were half a pound of sweet corn goodness.
Of our three picks, beef was the favorite simply because it had the most kick. I ordered the chicken for myself and it was delicious, too, just not as spicy as I anticipated. The salsita was a wonderful compliment; I would highly recommend dishing out the $2 for a small cup. My only wish is that Jay would have chosen four distinct varieties instead of two and two so that I could have sampled more! For dessert, the apple and pecan tamale struck me as odd at first bite, but once I knew what I was dealing with I was able to enjoy about half. I probably won’t opt for a sweet treat here again, unless pumpkin is available.
Before leaving we ordered a steak torta to-go, so Jay would have a (five-pound) snack for later; obviously I wanted a bite, but one quickly turned into six or seven or eight. Ok, I ate half. I was well into the next chomp, letting out grunts and moans of blissful approval, before halfway finishing the previous one. A mound of tender, flavorful carne asada and spicy pickled jalapeños and crisp iceberg lettuce and gooey cheese rested between thick slices of chewy bread. Hand-holding wasn’t even a possibility until we had forked our way through most of it. Is it wrong that I’m likely to dream about this sandwich?
Kudos: They sell coke products in old style bottles, and… recycle them! I know of of a few self-proclaimed environmentally conscious restaurants that don’t even recycle. Also, there is a discount for paying cash.
Overall: I love this place. One tamale, for less than four bucks, filled me up even though I was unable to stop there. Any joint that can satisfy the two of us for under $25, drinks and tip included, is heaven sent in my book. Merely an hour after lunch, I was already planning my return.
5226 Rockville Road
Indianapolis, IN 46224