Factory Tamal

The rating scale of 0 to 100 reflects our editors’ appraisals of all the tangible and intangible factors that make a restaurant or bar great — or terrible — regardless of price.

Read more about the new ratings
76 Solid

At this modest Lower East Side spot, the tamales are really made from scratch.

34 Ludlow St., New York, NY, 10002

(917) 691-5524

Known For

The lowdown

Mexico native Fernando Lopez worked in New York kitchens for years cooking Chinese, red-sauce Italian, Thai, and practically everything else before opening his own tamales shop on the Lower East Side, where he nixtamalizes corn into masa on the minuscule premises. (The premises used to be even tinier, until he expanded around the corner from the original shop.) Tasty as these steaming corn-husk-wrapped bundles are — and of the six on offer, the rajas con queso, with its flare of jalapeño and soft strips of chile and onion, is tastiest — tamales represent only a fraction of Lopez’s repertoire. The man turns out to be a deft short-order cook, pressing pastrami panini, tossing salads, and frying eggs to order for breakfast sandwiches slicked with chipotle-mayo “special sauce” on squishy brioche buns. There’s even a bacon-and-cheese tamale. But don’t ask for American cheese: It’s a point of pride for the house not to stock it, or ketchup.

Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite

What you need to know

DrinksNo Alcohol