A couple of people had asked me about or mentioned this place to me, and it is really close to my house, so we thought we’d give it a try with the kids for lunch. It is a taqueria, so you go up and order what you want, and they pretty much fill it however you like (extra charge for guacamole and queso). The thing that makes this place stand out from the standard quick service Mexican place is the fact that they press fresh flour tortillas to order. You go up and pick your vehicle (burrito, taco, etc) and they get out an appropriately sized dough ball, press it, and fill it. The meat choices were chicken, beef, carnitas or you could have a veggies.
I had the taco option ($4.75) which comes with 2 tacos. I had one chicken and one carnitas (the beef was a little too gray and cubed looking for me). They took smaller discs of dough and pressed them into the right size for tacos. I had mine filled with the meat, cheese, salsa and pico de gallo. Surprisingly, I liked the chicken version the best. The carnitas meat was sitting in a liquidy broth that made the meat literally drip with the broth. It kind of killed the tortilla because it soaked it so much. It was a bummer because the tortilla, as I said, it what makes this place stand out from other similar places. The fillings are pretty standard. The chicken was pretty good—not as dry and flavorless as it often can be. It was hard to tell with the carnitas—they had a bit of an almost cinnamon flavor or something but because it was so soggy, I didn’t even end up finishing the taco.
My daughter and hubby split a burrito ($6.25 + $1 for guac) which she filled exactly as she wanted it—with black beans, rice, carnitas, guacamole and sour cream. This was a much better vehicle for the pork, because it didn’t suffer from the extra moisture of the meat---in fact, it was helpful to make the entire burrito quite juicy. Again, it was all wrapped up in an even bigger tortilla and overall, I would say was the better choice over tacos. They were both quite happy and are ready to go back for another one.
My son had a cheese quesadilla ($3.95 for cheese only) which was one of the giant burrito sized tortillas folded and stuffed with cheese (of course you can fill them with whatever you want). It was fine, but he was not a big fan a declared that he does not like Mexican food (other than La Hacienda). That was his verdict.
Honestly, even though my daughter is jazzed to go back (and I think hubby would go if she asked), I didn’t find anything that exciting about it besides the tortillas—and they are pretty good. There is no salsa bar type thing, or salsa on the table, so it is hard to know what kind you want without trying them all. Not sure I have ever been in a taqueria that didn’t offer additional salsa to finish up your food (there are bottles of hot sauce). The chips didn’t seem fresh which was kind of surprising what with the whole fresh tortilla thing, although since they are corn chips, and they don’t make corn tortillas, maybe it isn’t that surprising. The chips just ok—the mild salsa we got with them was pretty fresh and tasty though. The people were super nice, although I was surprised by all the up charges for things (especially since the amount of guac you get for $1 is pretty minimal).
Obviously these types of Mexican restaurants are becoming more and more popular around town, as they seem to be springing up all over the place. Unfortunately, I think like anything, the more mass produced, the more generic the food becomes. This one has a hook with the tortillas, but for me, that’s about it. So, which one is your favorite?
4335 East 82nd Street