Tamales verdes de pollo ($13) look Yucatecan, wrapped in banana leaf, and there is some heat in the green salsa, but the tamales use fresh corn for texture with the corn meal, and don't have the leaden stodginess tamale enthusiasts might expect. The dish comes festively decorated with squash and pumpkin seeds and bits of Mexican cheese.
My favorite entrée was carne asada tampiquena ($22), a rolled marinated skirt steak (cooked medium rare as ordered) with a lot of excellent black beans, a little bit of over-saffronated rice, a cheese enchilada, and a fresh salsa. The assembly reminds me more of the big platters at Colombian restaurants than the giant samplers of Tex-Mex restaurants.
The "whole suckling pig carved at table" ($32) — and there always seems to be one traveling through the dining areas — looks spectacular and has been well reviewed, but we weren't in the mood. (I think some of the leftovers get into the black beans.) Dorado mojo de ajo ($22) is a fine chunk of mahi-mahi, in a serious garlic sauce, mounted on a pile of shredded and mashed plantain, like a Puerto Rican mofongo but lighter. I've never seen this in Mexico, but I'd order it as a side dish if I did.
Temazcal opened with an fun list of big, sweet nuevo Latino desserts, many with ice cream for summer, but as we go to press the restaurant was transitioning to a full-time pastry chef and a different approach.
Temazcal, like some seaside restaurants in Latin America, is open to the ocean in warm weather, and the view here, as at other places on the row, is the old view from Jimmy's Harborside, across the water to the new towers of Charlestown and East Boston and the planes landing at Logan. It's blocked to the left by Fish Pier, essentially the last working part of the seaport until you get down to the South Boston container dock. But that's all morning action. Temazcal is pushing the envelope by opening seven days for lunch, and it might recapture the midday power brokers who once vied for tables at Jimmy's and Anthony's.
Robert Nadeau can be reached at email@example.com.