Since I’m loath to cross the river, I hadn’t heard of Tu y Yo until they recently opened their Needham location – now I wouldn’t normally write about a restaurant, but their array of pre-Columbian delicacies is well worth the mention and the trip:
We started out with the miniature grasshopper tacos (Tacos de chapulines) – popular for centuries, particularly in Oaxaca, they have a slightly nutty (which isn’t quite right but is the closest I can come – maybe seedy? The flavor is a little more like a roast seed than a roast nut) flavor and a lovely crunchiness. I wished they were full size tacos. They came with red and green salsas – the salsa verde was the perfect accompaniment.
There’s a lot of confusion over “grasshopper” in the world – what Europeans would call locusts (the grey, flying, long legged bugs) we call grasshoppers and what I might call a cricket are what, from the look of them, they call chapulines.
Also for an appetizer, the mini tamales (which I also would have been happy with in their non “mini” form) which their menu describes as pre-hispanic but, I think are just mostly pre-hispanic since they include pork (a definite no) and coconut (the jury may be out on coconut given their floating around the globe abilities). Stuffed with chicken, corn, coconut, fish, and pork, their execution was perfect – and it can be hard to find a good tamale around here. Normally, I like mine bathed in red chile sauce New Mexican style, but these were delicious – especially the coconut which I’d never had – sweet but delicate; and the coconut goes awfully well with the corn.
Main course (this seems like a lot of food, right?) was Nopales en mole verde – tender cactus in a mild but tasty green mole. The cactus seemed pickled which detracted a little (though for all I know that’s how it works) from the subtlety, but they were a nice, light, finish to the meal. The rice and refritos were also delicious and a nice touch, though I think I ate them all, so don’t mention it to my dinner companions.
They also make a nice sangria. Hiccup.
Overall I give them a POW! Would have been two POWs but everything, was a little on the mild side – especially the salsa for the complementary chips. But don’t let that deter you – go immediately!