Would you like to know what’s the best taco in New York City?? Well. I have no idea. I would have to try all of them, and that’s just not possible. I can, however, give a few heads up on a bunch I have tried and totally loved! I had an endless stream of tacos enter my digestive system, and while most of them were pretty good, some were pretty bad, and some were amazing. I’ll spare you the bad ones, but here’s an account of the ones that got my thumbs (and toes) up. They are in no particular order, they all equally rocked my world.
Toloache in the Theater district is nestled between chain restaurants and tourist attractions, you could almost miss it. But please don’t. The Costilla & Tuetano Taco is unbelievable. Beef short rib, bone marrow, Thai basil, roasted red onion, jalapeño and chiles toreados add up to a perfect taco!
Mexikosher on the Upper Westside is owned by one of my favorite Top Chef contestants, Katsuji Tanabe. Besides obviously being a talented chef, he used to get in trouble for using too many ingredients in his dishes in the highly acclaimed TV show Top Chef. Naturally I was curious to see if he used too many in his food here in New York, but I can vouch for the perfect amount being used, his stuff is amazing. At Mexikosher not only is everything kosher, as the name suggests, but fresh and imaginative. My favorite there is the char broiled chicken breast taco, marinated in Mayan spices with citrus aroma, topped with fresh cilantro and Peanut Arbol. So simple, and yet so amazing.
Empellon is a little empire. Chef Alex Stupak owns three Empellon restaurants, ranging from upscale dining to low cost taqueria. They’re all great! I recently visited the Taqueria in the West Village, a sunny place with great staff. My favorite taco here is the skirt steak taco with onions, cilantro and other typical toppings that will simply make your day.
Añejo is another Mexican eatery owned by a Top Chef contestant. Angelo Sosa is a charismatic chef whose main ingredient in the kitchen is love! I have dined at either one of the Añejo restaurants several times, and my favorite hands down is the Short Rib Taco with shredded cabbage, tomatillo, pico de Gallo, chipotle crema and cojita cheese. Yum.
Rosie’s in the East village is a lively spot with outside seating in the warmer months. It is typical Mexican spot, with a typical menu, yet the food is a cut above the rest. Little additions to traditional dishes make this place so fun. By all means have the Picadillo Taco. It’s slow cooked grass fed ground beef with onions and garlic, potatoes, cumin and sultanas. Delicious….
Salvation Taco in Midtown is owned by Michelin Star Chef April Bloomfield, and this place is a doozie! It is upbeat and vibrant, with a Ping-Pong table to keep us entertained. The food in this lively spot is mouthwatering, you can’t go wrong with any choice. My #1 was the Taco Al Pastor with roasted pineapple and avocado salsa. Try to sit at the bar where you can watch the young lady making empanadas. Fun.
Sexy Taco, Dirty Cash
I came across Sexy Taco Dirty Cash a year ago at the Harlem Eat Up Festival. I jetted uptown asap to try all their goodies (or at least a good chunk of them), and if you find yourself in Harlem, please do stop by. The Chicken A La Cubana Taco, slow cooked with roasted tomatoes and white wine, chipotle and adobo is a showstopper…
Los Tacos #1
Los Tacos #1 is located inside the Chelsea Market, and always has quite a line. Don’t be discouraged, it moves fast, and it’s worth every minute of wait time. Pay the cashier, hand over your ticket to the cook, and wait a few minutes before you bite into heaven: Taco Adobada is marinated pork, and needs to be on your list of must tries. Have several, they’re only $3.50 each. The best, I promise…
Tacombi in the West Village is amazing, if for no other reason that the meat is all natural, the fish and poultry is humanely and sustainably raised, and free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics. You feel great before you even take a bite. Their organic tortillas are homemade. What more can you ask for? Oh right. Ask for the Baja Crispy Fish Taco. Amazing.
La Palalpa has two locations, one being a restaurant on St. Mark’s Place, the other a smaller location at the Urbanspace Vanderbilt. I work sort of close to the Vanderbilt location, a couple of blocks from Grand Central Station. It’s kind of a mix and match menu to ensure you get exactly what you need. I consistently need the Chicken Tinga Taco, which is chipotle BBQ pulled chicken with onions, cilantro and radish. I choose Chile De Arbol Salsa and Queso Chihuahua as my toppings, and it’s just so, so good.