>> Birria-Landia Tacos | Eat the World NYC

06 August 2019

Birria-Landia Tacos


If you have been to Los Angeles in the past year, you have probably eaten from the truck on Slauson in South LA called Teddy's Red Tacos, which now commands multiple locations, a hoard of Instagram followers, and was even in a Super Bowl commercial. Even if you haven't, more than likely those famously red tortillas have probably graced your social media feeds in many ways, and always with that money shot of crispy tacos being dipped into cups of neon consome.

This and other trucks and restaurants like it serve birria de res, the beef version of the dish that many goat birria purveyors from central and southern México still laugh off amicably and otherwise. This is not that, birria de chivo (goat) is often something saved for weekends or special occasions, preparation starting at least 24 hours before a meal. People eat it in their best clothes after church on Sundays.

Let the sun go down before coming.

Birria de res has always been around though, savoured by the people in northern states of México and as far south as Zacatecas. In Los Angeles it was here and there, but the Michoacán and Jalisco-born generations of Mexicans who lived there still treated it without much respect. But a few years back the Tijuana flavors jumped the border and haven't looked back, the style seems perfectly suited for the culture of outdoor eating and food trucks and stands.

Most of these purveyors did not actually have roots in Tijuana, but when the style started to blow up got into the game fast. Pueblan taqueros are known to be the best in the business and can adapt to any taco desire. It is in this spirit that the non-TJ proprietors of brand new Birria-Landia Tacos have hit the street in Jackson Heights, seeming to have gone to study in Los Angeles and bring back the trend of birria de res and an homage to Teddy's Red Tacos at the same time.

Three tacos, mulita, small consome.

Jackson Heights and Queens and New York City as a whole can only hope that this truck is a starter point, a continuation of the trend here. Only three years or so behind? That is not bad for this town when it comes to certain things. But when it first rolled up two months back, the truck was just plain awful. Not expecting a meal here after an already large dinner, only a couple tacos were ordered because of necessity, but they were not finished out of utter disappointment.

Two months later, another shot seemed the right thing to do. They still are finding their legs, but the upgrades are evident. They are getting much better with their frying to get crispy tortillas, the birria spicing is improving by bounds, and their chile árbol salsa is a net positive although does not pack much heat. At $2, the small taco lines up with expectations of Roosevelt Avenue eating at night, but might still be their weakest link.

The mulita ($3, above) stands to take top prize here, using the same ingredients as the taco but adding cheese to melt it all together and that second tortilla on top. I heard the taquero describe it to a customer as a small quesadilla, but this interrupts the simplicity of a mulita, with nothing getting in the way of meat, cheese, and salsa. Those stupid Instagram boomerang pull shots of stringy cheese are just waiting to learn about Birria-Landia in New York City.

One normal courtesy of a birria de res vendor is a small cup of consome to use for dipping with your tacos, but this service is not offered here. Instead, grab a very worthwhile cup of consome for $3 (below) and make your own dipping station. This cup is not just liquid though, large pieces of the stringy beef are given in generous portion and ready to be ladled out.

One of the most interesting things about the truck is the curiosity that neighborhood Mexicans have for it. Our largest wave to this neighborhood came from Puebla, far from anywhere birria de res exists. As the truck still finds its legs and orders take a bit too long, waiting lets you hear the questions and see the faces that pass by, Birria-Landia is still foreign.

Their online hours show 5pm until late (later on weekends) but the proprietor says 6pm at the window. On this night, they had just arrived and started setting up at 6:30pm so a few beers were procured nearby. The smart move might be to give them a couple hours and not show up near any of these times, let them warm up and get into the swing of things as the summer sun sets.

After all, the grill needs to be extra hot to get those tortillas crispy and that cheese melted perfectly. Welcome to Tijuana.

Birria-Landia Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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