When I try to introduce my American friends or any others that arent familiar with Mexican cuisine, I feel a big pressure because I want them to enjoy Mexican food as much as I do. I want them to understand its complexity and richness. That pressure was felt last night when I took my friend to Tamarindo in Oakland, I had never been to Tamarindo but I jokingly made her look at Yelp for reviews on the place. Now I dont look at Yelp much for reviews but I thought of giving it a try. Most of the comments ranged in the “Amazing, but small portions” , “very small portions”, “Shitty Service” and ”pricey”.
Tamarindo is pricey, very pricey. But I didnt mind, why? because when you go to “fancy schmancy” places, you already know you are getting small portions. Why people dont complain when they go to fancy French places? Oh Because French cuisine is portrayed widely as “simple” and “minimalistic”. In The USA, Mexican cuisine is portrayed as massive burritos, tacos that can barely close, and guacamole by the bucket. But I agree, the guacamole at Tamarindo was amazingly good but the portion was barely enough for 2, the queso fundido was superb yet I kept apologizing with my friend about the portions… “In Mexico they serve it with much more chorizo”. It was great to hear that she enjoyed the food as much as I did. Now the next step is to actually head to Mexico and taste for herself the cuisine.
So are you thinking of heading to Tamarindo? Prepare yourself for a pricey tab. Its perfect for a date, a splurgy night, or for having a couple of well mixed drinks. The cocktails are very very good, and the food is great (hand made tortillas and very fresh ingredients). The place is filled with “middle upper” classes which made me get in a good conversation with my friend; I started pondering of what “gourmet” really means or what do “food critics” evaluate when they go to these places. My conclusion? fuck critics…the job of critics is to provide an opinion but ultimately I think in order to actually know if Tamarindo is good… is to try it for yourself!
Tamarindo knows who they want to cater to and you know what? they do an excellent job at providing great food and putting mexican cuisine up next to great French or Italian restaurants. While I enjoyed the food and drinks thouroughly, in the back of my head I know I have eaten way better dishes paying less than half the amount. Its interesting how can the lower classes in Mexico provide the best food experience and yet its “‘high end” places that “instruct” the rich palates.
I want to applaud chef Gloria Dominguez for putting a nice and straightforward menu.
I hope you guys get to go to Tamarindo, would be nice to hear your opinion on the place.