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Review

Los Comales Carne Asada Nicaragüense

$$$$

Don’t let the name of this tiny restaurant located in the heart of Sweetwater fool you. While the kitchen does make a stellar carne asada, the real draw here is the nacatamal, Nicaragua’s version of the tamal. Almost every cuisine in Latin America has a version of a steamed or boiled corn cake wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf, and each Latin American claims that his or her country’s version is the best. I am from Peru, and while I love my traditional tamales, I will always prefer a nacatamal over any other variety. Many tamales are quite dense and pretty spartan, but that’s not the case with these. First, they’re heavy and the size of a brick - enough to feed two people easily. Nacatamales are also bursting with juicy fillings that make the cornmeal dough soft and closer to polenta than the firm corn cakes found elsewhere. Upon peeling back the banana leaf sheath, you’re rewarded with a mix of flavors and textures, including rice, pork or chicken, tomato, and a mint leaf. In fact, nacatamales are often served in bowls to catch all the juices.

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