Together with Jackson Heights, Corona, Bushwick, Sundown Park, and East Harlem, the East Village is without doubt one of the finest locations on the town to seize a taco, with new spots showing nearly every day. We just lately noticed Borrachito and Amigo by Nai debut, the primary treating tacos as a ingesting snack, the second exploring the intersection of tacos and tapas, each peddling beef birria tacos.
Simply final week a brand new taqueria appeared on East Seventh Road, between Avenue A and First Avenue, known as Los Tacos NYC, making it troublesome to seek for on-line given the similarity of its title to the much-lauded Los Tacos No. 1. However, its menu is distinctive within the East Village scene, with yellow tortillas made in-house and flavorful rice deposited proper within the taco, as if the tortilla had been a parabolic main-course plate.
The brand new taqueria is an offshoot of the espresso bar chain 787, which has a department simply down the road. It shares the identical homeowners, who additionally operate as cooks on the new venue. Brandon Pena is from El Paso, and he and Sam Sepulveda, who grew up in Puerto Rico, have formulated a pleasingly single-minded menu that focuses completely on seven tacos: hen mole, pollo a la Mexicana, pork chile colorado, beans and cheese, potato and soy chorizo, a breakfast taco of eggs and potatoes, and rajas con queso, the final 4 vegetarian. The one aspect dishes at the moment are guacamole and chips and a corn casserole.
How do these tacos differ from the standard varieties out there in New York Metropolis and neighborhood? They’re described as “tacos de guisado” ($3.75 every), which may be strictly translated as stew tacos. However the time period extra loosely denotes tacos like these made at residence from components at hand, which could embody, for instance, hen mole, scrambled eggs, and maybe some leftover rice. I requested the worker on the counter what this meant in follow and he or she replied, “We put rice within the tacos, that are like ones Mother makes at residence, and use stews as the principle filling.” She instructed me she is from Jalisco, and a number of the different staff are from Puebla.
Rice in tacos is one thing we’ve seen right here earlier than, notably in tacos placeros (“market tacos”), which appeared about 15 years in the past in Jackson Heights on Roosevelt Avenue, offered by cell distributors. Along with rice, these tacos usually eschewed costly components like meat in favor of issues like chiles relleno, roasted chile strips, and boiled eggs. Moreover, they’re usually humongous in measurement, making a full meal. Tacos placeros normally deploy double white-corn tortillas, however typically they resemble Pueblan quesadillas, with a single large tortilla folded over the fillings.
The tacos at Los Tacos NYC are smaller, utilizing easy and nearly crumbly yellow tortillas made on the premises which are fairly distinct from tortillas elsewhere. The selection of fillings can also be attention-grabbing, particularly within the chile Colorado of pulled pork in a brick-red sauce manufactured from dried chiles, which tasted to me very very like issues I’d eaten in New Mexico and Arizona, and the potato and vegan chorizo. I used to be stunned at this filling’s taste and texture, which very a lot resembled that of the potato and chorizo tacos which are a specialty of Zaragoza Grocery, six blocks north on Avenue A. In each circumstances, the potatoes lend a starchy heft to the taco and mediate the salty savor and spiciness of the chorizo, whether or not actual or pretend.
The mole taco can also be noteworthy, particularly for its pumpkin seed topping, which provides a crunch to the whole affair. The dollop of rice in every taco provides immeasurably to all of the tacos, making them style — I don’t know — creamier. Can further carbs and the holy union of rice and corn ever be a foul factor?
The opposite tacos are superb, however these three actually stand out. The guacamole at Los Tacos NYC is unremarkable (it wants cilantro and onion to provide it oomph), however the corn casserole, a riff on the ears of boiled contemporary corn slathered with mayo and dried cheese known as elote which are a staple of avenue meals throughout Mexico, is effectively price attempting. Right here, a soupy underlayer of corn kernels is roofed with a whipped combination of mayo and queso seco, making one thing like a cloud on a sunny day, however denser. The very best impact is achieved by vigorously mixing the entire thing collectively and dipping it up with a chip left over out of your guacamole — request just a few chips should you didn’t get the guac.
There are many sodas, however no desserts or aspect dishes other than these talked about. So far as I’m involved, that’s good. It’s good to have a restaurant that considers just one type of taco, making it a vacation spot amongst taquerias, and one I believe I’ll discover myself returning to.
Native New Yorker. Travel addict. Hardcore thinker. Analyst. Pop culture fanatic. I live in Queens with my wife Linda and our dog Clemenza.