In New York, Mexican food bears the unique responsibility of having to prove it’s authentic. We say that if you work your way down our list, you’re guaranteed to hit innumerable sweet spots. After that, we dare you to assert that New Yorkers don’t get the good Mexican food L.A. does. Those days are over—we can kick out the cynics, and let in the romantics. By Anna Van Lenten.
5 Burro Cafe
Everyone wishes they had the perfect neighborhood Mexican spot — 5 Burro is it. Thankfully open for lunch, 5 Burro offers their full menu for lunch, with minor changes like two tacos instead of three. This will still definitely stuff you full of delicious food inexpensively, with enough for leftovers to take home. Try anything with the ‘tasty pork & cilantro’ because, as the name suggests, it is tasty. VERY tasty. Each platter comes with rice, beans, healthy scoops of sour cream, guacamole, and refreshing pico de gallo for you to garnish your tacos, though they don’t need any additions to be delicious. If you’re feeling daring, try a mini-margarita – each garnished with a cute toy – for $5.
Chille relleno. Carne Asada. Any of the taco choices. Chips ‘n guacamole. All brightened with lime-soaked onions and cilantro, radishes, limes, pico de gallo, red and green hot sauces. Enough said—go!
Find outstanding chips and salsa here (no small thing), and extraordinary burritos bursting with flavor and roasted cheese. Fantastic mole, tacos, and tostadas too. Once you’ve tried all the standards, get the Tequila chicken, whose spice and Tequila notes sing. And, a wonderful dessert: an empanada filled with strawberry and cheese, and ice cream on top.
Inviting and succulent fare here. Nixtmal’s fish tacos are splendid little pockets of fried fish, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and lime wondrous-ness. Posole is awesome — abundantly seasoned, gratifyingly hearty. Because the masa is made fresh from house-ground corn, both the tamales and tortillas have a corny fragrance unique to Nixtmal.
Taqueria el Fogon
Ample portions of delight fit for a queen. Extremely tasty tacos al pastor are redolent with seasoned heat. Nachos come replete with avocado and radishes scalloped over their magnificent cheesy goodness, and the scrumptiously messy egg or chorizo chilaquiles—well, if you haven’t had this dish, here’s the place to try it.
La Estrellita Poblana
We adore Estrallita’s steak, al pastor, and chicken tacos—and recommend piling on every sauce from the tray they bring you. It would be a crime to overlook the green chicken mole enchiladas, which just about left us gobsmacked. Guacamole was delicious, and the grilled shrimp will give you the moans–the good kind.
Cabana’s multiple locations make their Nuevo Latino cuisine super accessible to anyone in the mood for their unique mixture of Latin cuisines. With a rather reasonably priced lunch menu – items run no more than $12, and include empanadas, crisp shells filled with your choice of beef, shrimp or chicken, or ropa vieja, that classic dish of shredded beef, onion, bell peppers and tomatoes; all lunch dishes come with your choice of soup or salad. There’s even “churrasco” on the lunch menu; for $12, you receive a tender skirt steak that has been marinated in garlic and fresh herbs, its own pot of chimichurri to slather on it, and cebollitas (grilled green onions). Be sure to pick up some breath mints though – the garlic in that will be enough to knock anyone out.
The tacos al pastor will knock you sideways. Gorgeous pork is hand sliced off the wheel and served with pineapple, cilantro, onions and a kicking sauce. Add a squeeze of lime and some radishes and you’re rolling. The cheese quesadilla is unimpeachable, the huaraches are great, and the sopa de pastor authentically brilliant.
By Anna Van Lenten, http://avanlenten.tumblr.com/