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May 23, 2007 05:24 AM

Astoria Broadway Mexican notes

- Tacos Mexico (38th and Broadway) isn't uniformly good, but when they're firing on all cylinders, they can do some mighty good things. The (steamed) cabeza and lengua are consistently decent. The birria is tender and flavorful, but not overcooked to where it's falling apart. The al pastor was best of all: a great mix of thicknesses, of tender and charred, crispy bits, and seasoned like the shawarma it's derived from. Many of the neighborhood gyros makers (BZ Grill excepted) could learn a thing or two from them. On past visits, I've had bland barbacoa and dried-out carne enchilada and cecina, so you've got to be willing to take your chances. Though the sides are fine, I think their dish-to-dish inconsistency makes tacos and other antojitos a good strategy: order a few different meats and some are bound to be good that day.

- Cruz Mexican Products, the grocery on 41st just off Steinway, has a little dining room tucked in back and a little party room behind that. I had a respectable but unremarkable torta de lengua, but I'll need to try more to get a good read on the place.

- The Mexican deli/grocery next to the newsstand on Broadway at 46th has just-okay tortas with precooked meat pulled from a steam table, nothing to get excited about. However, the tamales piled in a crock pot behind the counter are wonderful. Get the green ones and the mole ones in the morning while they're fresh from some neighborhood kitchen. At $1.25 each they're my current pick for breakfast-on-the-run near the 46th St. G/R/V stop.

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  1. I prefer the Mexican grocery on 29th Street, just south of 30th Avenue. You can find more info by seaching "mexican" and "astoria" on chowhound. They have really great tamales, and I enjoy their burritos, tacos, tortas, etc. Also, try the food truck that parks next to the rite-aid on 30th avenue, around 33rd Street (only around at night). Very good. I still frequent Tacos Mexico, but the above are, at worst, comparable.

    2 Replies
    1. re: destroyer

      ..and I live closer to Broadway these days, so I don't get up to 30th all the time. And when I do, Sorriso's, Gian Piero, the cevabdzinici and and all the Middle Eastern stuff jostle for attention... :)

      Any standout meats at the grocery or on 29th or at the taco truck? Does the grocery make its own tortillas?

      1. re: hatless

        i LOVE the chorizo at the taco truck. but again, i am their biggest fan and i will happily gobble up anything they make! the grocery- would it original mexican? they are really good too- and i second their great tamales. i scanned in their menu too for easy access from anywhere!

    2. i agree with your opinion except for the BZ grill part
      there pork gyro is not seasoned at all
      can you please tell me what to Order because everytime i go
      there i find there food to be very bland!!!!!
      i like the pita breadat times
      but i havent gone in a while because i just dont like it

      1 Reply
      1. re: pcorntail

        It's about texture: crispy bits, juicy bits, thick bits, thin bits, tenderness and char in every bite. That's what sets the best gyros (and burgers, and doner, and shawarma, and Carolina-style chopped-pork sandwiches) apart for me. You can season meat divinely, but if it goes from the spit to the plate uniformly sliced, uniformly crustless and rubbery, it's not gonna do it for me.

        Different strokes for different folks.