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pio maya and el paso taqueria: any good?

j
james May 16, 2006 05:32 PM

i saw an article on gothamist recently highlighting pio maya, a taqueria down in the village near nyu. although i'm a little skeptical of the review, i do want to check it out to see for myself. that said, i'm wondering if anyone here has tried this place out.

also, one of the people who responded to the article mentioned el paso taqueria (2 locations) in spanish harlem. i have never heard of this place...has anyone been and, if so, is it worth a trip?

here's the article in question:

http://www.gothamist.com/archives/200...

  1. s
    Senor Popusa May 16, 2006 06:48 PM

    Pio Maya is excellent. Their chicken soup is particularly noteworthy - not something I usually order in a Mexican restaurant but this is something special. It is the kind of place where you order and pay at the register and they bring you your food...

    1. a
      augieland May 17, 2006 01:02 PM

      i probably eat Pio Maya 3-5 times a week. Love it.

      Link: http://www.augieland.blogs.com

      1. j
        jesse May 17, 2006 04:16 PM

        I'm a big fan of El Paso.. i've been to both locations, and prefer the 104th street location.. it's small, has little ambience, and gets very crowded, especially on the weekends and well into the evening, but it is great.. easy ride on the 6 train to 103rd leaves you a block away.. cheap food, can be a bit slow but very good tacos and other small eats as well as a large assortment of specials, which can vary a bit..

        1. e
          elpc May 17, 2006 05:05 PM

          i would recommend el paso. that's where i fell in love with pozole which (at least there) is a very flavorful pork and hominy stew. the tacos are good, i always get al pastor. i go to the one on 94th street, never been to the one further up.

          1. a
            a&w May 17, 2006 06:49 PM

            I personally think Pio Maya blows El Paso out of the water. I esp. love the burrito they serve at the former. It's a knife and fork deal, and you have to ask them to put the cheese and guacamole (excellent, btw) insides. But the result is really quite tasty. They also do excellent authentic (i.e., smaller and grilled) tortas.

            1. l
              lucybobo May 16, 2007 03:11 PM

              I always enjoy our food from El Paso (97th St.) My favorite tacos are the carnitas and the al pastor. The tamales are great too. Another delicious thing there (though it's not really the weather for it now) is tortilla soup. Instead of just sprinkling a few tortilla chips on it, they use long tortilla strips as noodles. The broth is rich and filled with smoky, not hot, chilis. Gooey cheese at the bottom....sooooo good. I've been wanting to try the one at 104th because they have cemitas, which the 97th location doesn't seem to have.

              1. j
                jdream May 16, 2007 03:20 PM

                Pio Maya is my choice hands down. Great tortas, burritos, and rotisserie chicken. Also, if you get any salad there the dressing is so nice-- light with the perfect amount of aciditiy. El Paso is right around the corner from where I work. Their shrimp burritos are good, but not great (often too much cheese/too heavy, and I much prefer the pinto beans at Pio Maya to the black beans at El Paso). I got turned off to El Paso after they got our order incorrect too many times. But the kicker for me was when I ordered a salad with chicken and it came with what seemed like fake/pre-cooked chicken strips. The quality of Pio Maya is head and shoulders above El Paso (97th Street location).

                1 Reply
                1. re: jdream
                  rose water May 16, 2007 05:28 PM

                  I agree that the quality of the meat at El Paso is not great. My other gripes from recent trips there are that they no longer give out the little containers of radish, lime, and salsa. They now ask if you want the ($7.25) guacamole when you sit down--divey, cheap, local place no more! The guac is pretty one dimensional, but that one dimension is creamy ripe avocado, so I'm not (really) complaining. Their tamarind juice is still awesome.

                2. E Eto May 16, 2007 05:36 PM

                  Neither of these places are destination worthy. I do agree that the El Paso on 103rd is better than the one on 97th, but I haven't been there in a while to confirm that. I've been to the one on 97th and can tell you that it's not that good. Pio Maya I've tried a couple times and don't quite understand the accolades. These places are good for the neighborhood, but it seems that if you go a little further out of your way, you'll find something better.

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