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Pinche Taqueria

As a Texas native and a Manhattan resident, I have long bemoaned the state of Mexican food in NYC. I'm happy to say that Pinche Taqueria scratched my near constant itch for tacos.

The menu is small and everything that I tried was quite good. I started with the elote (corn on the cob with sharp white cheese and cayenne. I could barely detect any mayo.) Then I tried a trio of tacos -- tender, flavorful carnitas, savory, multi-dimensional carne asada and simple but satisfying frijole. I had a bite of my companion's fish tacos and thought that they were excellent as well. The staff casually mentioned that their burritos (not on the menu) had been popular, so we decided to split a beef burrito as well. This was not your typical football-sized monstrosity filled with cheese, sour cream, rice, guacamole and every other condiment under the sun. It was rather small for the genre, and filled with mind alteringly tender beef, beans, raw white onion and cilantro. I loved it.

Pinche Taqueria was one of the better meals that I've had in recent memory and the staff was warm and convivial. Soho is not exactly a chowhound's paradise, but I think that Pinche is worth the trip.

Mott between Prince and Spring.

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  1. NIce, love the name, can't wait to try it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Daniel76

      je, i thought this was a thread complaining about a taqueria, because of the "pinche" title. I'll give it a try.

    2. I actually just tried Pinche Taqueria, as well. Loved it, I've all ready been back twice. It's definately the best taco I've had in New York. The ingredients are the key and they don't use canned food, microwaves or farmed fish. It's a tiny joint - not too many seats to eat in. I talked to the owner and he plans on re-vamping the seating so it's a little more comfy (than the little wooden stools). But overall - love their Horchada and tamarind drinks, the El Pastor taco is excellent as well as the fish tacos. The service is friendly but sometimes slow when it's busy. Definately great food though!

      1. They make the tortillas in house. I liked the pork best, it wasn't the carnitas and I can't remember the name. I guess ask for the "not carnitas pork" lol. (I cant believe I wrote lol)

        1. Thnx for the insight into tacos...if you are up for the informal 1am craving, there is a taco "bus" that parks at 14th, between 7/8th. Heavenly tacos, all kinds, for $2 a pop. All you see there are Mexican workers, so you know it's good. Open 'til very late. Best tacos are chivo, chorizo and tripas (yes, believe it or not!)

          3 Replies
          1. re: tripleB

            Thanks for reminding me about the 14th street truck, tripleB. I have been meaning to check that out. Do you know what time they generally open? Are they around on weeknights and weekends?

            Thanks in advance!

            1. re: mashpee

              hey mashpee, I've eaten there on week nights and weekends (wohoo!). Although I don't know the exact timing, I think they are there after 11pm. These tacos taste best at 3am, though :-)

            2. re: tripleB

              Ooooooooooooooo........TACO TRUCK!!!! I used to work at Craftsteak and we would always hit them up after work. LOOOOVE them! So good. I think a lot of the kitchen staff from that area flock to them after work or after drinks after work :)

            3. I just confirmed with the restaurant that Pinche is BYO, at least for the time being.

              1. I wanted to feel this place more than I did. I applaud the approach and the vibe of the place, they got the decor right and it already seems to have a great, neighborhood hole-in-the-wall feel. And what arrived after I ordered a carnitas burrito looked extremely promising. Rustic, rough-hewn tortillas of the kind you simply do not see in NYC. The shell of this burrito is pure Mission District, unfortunately its insides are a bit more Benny's Burritos, i.e., lacking in much flavor.

                I wondered if these "carnitas" were actually loin, they were just little dry tasteless chunks. Beans, too, great texture, no flavor. Kind of wish they would make non-vegetarian beans, or even punch up the cumin or onions or oil or something. It made me wonder if anyone is regularly tasting this stuff--I mean, even at a basic level it's undersalted. Had I made this at home, I would not serve it to someone. Granted I tried a burrito, maybe that was a bad call. But nothing about this place would sway me from my loyalty to the saucy, crusty "if the coronary problem I'm going to develop from eating this is wrong I don't want to be right" carnitas at Tehuitzingo deli.

                While finding great tacquerias in NY requires some sleuthing, there are a number of them, and I would not really put Pinche on the list of greatness. For that, they would need decent beans and good carnitas. I do hope they improve because I think there is a lot of potential and I like the spirit of the effort.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Mandymac

                  What places has your sleuthing uncovered?

                  1. re: wingman

                    I think it's pretty subjective, but Tehuitzingo deli on 46th and 10th is pretty awesome. I've never personally had better in New York. My benchmark is carnitas, always. I found the taco truck on 96th to be pretty meh. Pio Maya on 8th Street is not bad. I know there are places in Queens and Sunset Park, BK that everyone raves about but haven't done much exploring.

                    I should add this is not a taco by taco comparison, I only had the burrito at Pinche, and I'd give it another chance, but I hope they improve!

                  2. re: Mandymac

                    I'm going to stand with Mandymac on this one. I ordered three different tacos and a (tiny) side of beans at Pinche, and I have no interest in going back. All of the food was simply dull.

                    1. re: big o

                      This place is pretty bad. I went and had 3 kinds of taco and they were tasteless and expensive. the guacamole was also dull. the best taco was the shrimp one, it wasn't great but it was definitely better than the taco al pastor. I also had a tamal that wasn't as bad a the tacos...i wont go back.

                    2. re: Mandymac

                      I agree with you about Pinche. It's just okay. As you suggest, it's tacos and not burritos that are the true test of taco place, and their tacos are nothing special.

                      It would be weird if they used loin to make the carnitas since it usually costs a good deal more than shoulder, especially picnic, although loin would explain the dry and tasteless quality. My guess is they don't do enough business and so the shoulder gets plunked in a fridge and dries out there.

                      1. re: jasmurph

                        Pinche taqueria really makes honor to it's name. As "pinche" (crappy) as you can get. The worst tacos I have had outside of Mexico. As a native Mexican (born and raised) I have fortunately had probably more than 9,000 tacos throughout my life from the nicest, trendiest spots in Mexico City to taco stands in Oaxaca, Acapulco and Monterrey. These were the worst tacos of my life. Who puts guacamole as a taco topping? Definitely not authentic. I rather spend more money and go to Rosa Mexicano or Maya.

                        1. re: halimannyc

                          Appreciate the perspective. Which New York City tacos do you prefer (other than those at Maya and Rosa Mexicano, both well known on this site)?

                          As for guacamole on tacos, there was some recent talk about this practice, authentic or not, at one of the better-regarded places in Queens ... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/48188...

                    3. I moved here to Manhattan 2 years ago from San Francisco. If you've ever spent any time sampling the amazing authentic Mexican food of the Mission Dist. you would be as disappointed as I am. If you've ever sampled the life-changing fish tacos and pico de gallo served along the Pacific Beach in San Diego, you'd be as baffled as I am. Why can't New York understand quick, delicious, killer Mexican. food?

                      At Pinche, the tacos are runny and fall apart easily. But tasty nevertheless. I had the fish and the spit roasted pork. I also ordered a grilled chicken burrito (refried beans, chicken and guac). Flavorless and soulless. (Almost as bad as the experience I had at the L.E.S.'s newest "taqueria" Neighburrito.) Stale, bland chips. Their salsa was more like tomato, habenero water. To add insult to injury, i bit down on gravel three times as I tried to eat this "burrito"...and, they use styrofoam.

                      Places like Pinche, Neighburrito and Bennies are staight up lying. It's not authentic, and it's not delicious. Bennies even goes as far to claim that they make "San Francisco style" burritos. Obviously they've never been.

                      It's not all their fault however. Most of the blame goes to those with dead palates who rave about anything that tastes better than the bile they've been raised on.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: gastronomizac

                        Man, I have to agree. I went there the second day it opened. Awful ordering system that basically entailed the boss/owner screaming at confused employees behind him. I knew I was in trouble when some of the orders fell into the grill and were lost forever. 20 minutes later I got my sloppy pork taco, with soggy tortilla mind you and burnt to a crisp corn. On the way out I decided to get a radish to munch on and noticed it was moldy. Good god stay away from this place. Yes, restaurants can have growing pains but this was a one and done situation. Maybe NY will never get Mexican. I will stick with the very decent Palapa (East Village location)

                      2. I went to the new location today, on Lafayette and Bleecker, in the old Sparky's space, next to Bite. It was a very quick, and spur of the moment dinner. They didn't have any of the aqua frescas ready, yet, unfortunately, as it was only their second day of business. But I found the tacos to be tasty and at the right price point for the immediate neighborhood. I thought the steak was only OK, but the pork ones (tried pastor as well as carnitas) were nice, if a little small. Also really enjoyed the shrimp ones.

                        The service was also extremely helpful and friendly. I hope they do well in the space -- Pinche was pretty busy, and there were more people inside eating an early dinner than I ever saw in Sparky's at once.

                        1. Just wanted to weigh in - I just finished my two tacos from here. I got carne asada and al pastor. Overall, I thought the tacos were good. At $2.75 each, cheaper than la esquina down the road. La esquina is definitely better, but I was happy with the ones I got. Carne asade was a little dry, but al pastor was good. The tacos are small and delicate (seeing as how they only use one tortilla instead of two). Are the tortillas homemade? Hard to say, but I think not.

                          Every tortilla comes with raw onions (a fav of mine), cilantro and a wedge of lime, which I think is all they need. However, they do slop some guac on top of every taco, which I am of two minds about. They have a red and green sauce - I thought both were good, although the red is more flavorful and the green is spicier.

                          Place wasn't too full when I went early for lunch. System was very organized and we got our orders quickly.

                          Note: my veggie friend was not pleased at all with his veggie tacos. It seemed to me that they were as advertised, but he said he didn't like them and wouldn't return.


                          1. I ate at Pinche Taqueria with a friend last weekend. Loved the name and being crammed into the tiny tables, but my food was definitely disappointing. I got huevos rancheros, which came with two hard *fried* eggs, boring rice, and fairly bland beans, not to mention lard-y tasting (I'm a vegetarian, should've asked if they use lard. oh well). They apparently forgot the ranchero sauce, but it was so lackluster anyway I didn't want to finish. My friend, however, loved her fish taco and chicken quesadilla. Perhaps this is a better place for carnivores?

                            Pinche Taqueria
                            227 Mott St, New York, NY 10012

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sourgirl

                              Um, yes. Their two best items are pork based tacos and fish based tacos.