As a self-proclaimed enchilada queen, I’ve had some pretty darn good Mexican food, from authentic to Tex-Mex. When I open a restaurant’s menu, the first place I read is the enchilada section. I’m always in the mood for a good enchilada! When my family invited me to lunch at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas, I was pumped.
Since I was a little girl, my family has eaten at Tamale King. Heck, we were going there before it was a restaurant. I remember my mother buying tamales for Christmas when Gina Chittim was selling homemade tamales out of a roadside stand. If my family and I wanted good tamales, that was where we went. We were ecstatic when the Chittims expanded and opened the restaurant.
My tamale obsession faded when I discovered the array of Tamale King enchiladas. Every visit I’ve made to the restaurant was a tasty experience.
Keeping my past foodie experiences in mind, I was thrilled when my family treated me to lunch as congratulations for being accepted to college. We were promptly seated and served by a pleasant waiter. Throughout the visit, he was attentive and courteous, serving our drinks and food in a timely manner. He definitely got five stars for his performance.
I ordered the New Mexico enchiladas with chicken and yellow cheese. The food looked delicious when it was delivered. However, I was disappointed that, after cutting the enchiladas into bite size pieces, the chicken chunks were so small that they fell out of the tortilla. While inconvenient, I could live with chasing chicken around my plate. What I couldn’t live with was the chicken tasted like I had licked a dirty, charred grill. It was disgusting! I rarely say that about food. I’m a pretty easy person to please, but this was awful. If that had been my first visit to the restaurant, I would never go back. Having been there before and getting good food that was enjoyable, I really don’t want to go back. The rice and beans that accompanied the enchiladas were, as usual, very good.
We also ordered Cole’s Carne Queso Flameado. It was cheesey-gooey goodness when it arrived, but as it cooled, the dish became a giant clump that was impossible to eat.
For me, Tamale King has always embodied tasty and convenient Tex-Mex food. I’ve met friends at the restaurant for a simple bite or to celebrate a special occasion. It’s also a nice local date spot or quick stop for lunch. There aren’t many restaurants in the Sunrise Beach-Kingsland-Buchanan Dam area, which is about a 20 mile radius for me. This visit I ordered the Hungry Chittim Boys’ tilapia tacos and was pleased.
This dish comes with a small side of guacamole, a tiny salad, rice, and beans. I have no complaints about the food as it was exactly what I expected. I am highly disappointed with the queso, though. I love me a good queso but who can eat cheese that’s stuck to a spoon?
The complimentary salsa and chips were as expected at an average Tex-Mex restaurant. The flour tortillas, however, were excellent.
I don’t know if I will frequent Tamale King Restaurant in the future. Honestly, I prefer interior Mexican food. My taste for Tex-Mex has dwindled over the years, and I admit that what we consumed at Tamale King didn’t help. If someone else offered to pick up the bill, I’d give the restaurant another chance. On my own? Highly doubtful.
On a positive note, the service was nothing short of amazing. Our waiter was funny, knowledgeable, friendly, and prompt.
If you enjoy Tex-Mex food and live in the Highland Lakes area, Tamale King Restaurant is convenient. Gina Chittim and her family are wonderful folks who’ve worked hard to establish this business. The food is decent – before this review, I’d never had a poor dining experience. The restaurant is popular with the locals. Tamale King serves more than your belly: This restaurant is about friends, family, and community.
Tamale King is located at 15405 E. Hwy 29, Buchanan Dam, Texas, 78611. The phone number is (512) 793-2677. Follow their Facebook fan page here.