>> Los Tacos No. 1 Tribeca | Eat the World NYC

04 September 2019

Los Tacos No. 1 Tribeca


Without much fanfare, the fourth branch of Los Tacos No. 1 has opened up a small spot in Tribeca offering the same foods and experience as their other locations. The wildly popular Tijuana-style taco spot, lauded as the "best tacos NYC has to offer" by many folks has still been unable to keep up with demand as lines at the original Chelsea Market location are almost always out of control. There have been many occasions in the area where one glance at the line was enough to decide against another visit.

In a way, the franchise is something of a rarity for New York City, a little bubble of what is all the rage down the west coast and across the border where the style was born. One of the founders of the branch is actually even more famous for a similar taco operation in Los Angeles called Tacos 1986 which now has a brick and mortar shop after multiple successful street and market vending locations. Copycats in NYC have just now started to pop up around town, but so far it is best to avoid places like "Los Tacos Al Pastor" in DUMBO which rips off interior design and fonts but not the taste.

Eating a taco is a spiritual experience for some people, an attack on your senses from all directions if done properly. You might see smoke from the carne asada blocks away from a street vendor you are approaching, then start smelling it when getting closer. The chop chop chop of the blade going through meat hits your ear. The salts, fats, and acids hit your mouth at the same time all creating ecstasy, just in time for you to notice the juices running down your hands and onto your shoes.

If there is any complaint about Los Tacos No. 1 it is simply that some of this experience is taken away by the shiny white diner aesthetic they have chosen. I am sure some (or most!) folks do not mind this, but that spirituality spoken of is hard to attain here for that reason. This is to say nothing about the price, which is absolutely not a problem. The tortillas themselves make the taco worth double of its street counterparts, and that is not even mentioning the much higher quality ingredients.

On corn tortillas.

Whether you go with corn (above) or flour (below) tortillas, the assembly line starts here, freshly pressed masa and flour is placed on the grill as demand ebbs and flows. At this price point, they are by far the best in the city, the flour so thin as to be translucent.

They do pollo asado, but where Los Tacos No. 1 truly excels is with carne asada ($3.95, left) and adobada ($3.75, right). As seen in the photo above, each meat has its own professional taking care of it, one man stands over the grill cooking the former while another taquero constantly shaves off meat from the trompo. Despite being over a gas grill, the steak magically has a great smoky charcoal flavor.

On flour tortillas.

In true Tijuana style, a dollop of guacamole should be added to each taco, plus their red salsa, onions, and cilantro. A small condiment bar is also set up with more options, and be sure not to forget to squeeze some lime juice. The marinated pork cut off the spit is almost perfect but usually gets a bit too burnt after they grill it up and before it makes its way to your tortilla. Otherwise, you can really taste the high quality meat and adobo spice mix they use.

While most customers rightly stick to tacos, after a few visits don't be shy to try their especial ($6, below), a fried quesadilla that arrives looking like a Dominican pastelito or South American empanada. This dough only gets super crispy at the folded edges, while the rest remains soft and lucious. The fluffiness was a true surprise.

After frying, they cut open a seam and add the fresh ingredients and salsas so even when piping hot the mix of cold within is enjoyable. You can also order it with any of the meats for another $2, but in this form it is great and cheesy without.

Their mulas ($4.75-$4.95, below) might be the only dish that misses the mark. Essentially this is a taco with cheese and another tortilla added to the top, but they use such a small amount of cheese that it is almost not tasted. The tortillas are already so big and tasty that another one just alters the flavor combinations too much. Stick to the tacos.

As a pro tip, don't be like the finance bros on their phones or trying to impress their dates and saying the words "number one" out loud, because that is not the name of this place. If you are already going through the trouble of saying "los tacos" with your best Spanish accent, why not finish the name correctly?

Numero uno. Like this guy below.

Los Tacos No. 1 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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