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Jul 3, 2008 05:13 PM

taqueria coatzingo

I have eaten at Taqueria Coatzingo at least a dozen times in the last year and absolutely love it, especially when ordering from the specials menu. Tonight,however, the food was a big disappointment. Everything seemed off. I also noticed that most of the waitresses I know weren't there and the place was more than half empty, unusual for a Thursday evening. Has anyone else noticed anything different or was this just one of those off nights.

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  1. I find TC to be quite the opposite, you're fine sticking with tacos, but the specials are where everything seems a bit "off" (in particular the mole poblano). The joint can be 1/3 full or 2/3 full whether Monday or Saturday (or Thursday) and sometimes there are familiar faces among the waitress and other times not, so there's no need to proclaim a downhill alert based on 1 bad meal out of 13 for those reasons.

    Now if only they would put Styx's "Boat on the River" in the mix with the Nortenos on a regular basis, I wouldn't care how much liver they put into the pipian.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JacksonH

      I was there on Monday night. All the regular staff were there then. We ordered off the specials menu as always and it was as good as ever. Maybe yesterday was just an "off" night, or maybe everyone was off for that traditional Mexican holiday, Quatro de Julio.


      I went for my first time last week and had a Cemita (the big sammich) with cecina. Everything was great but the cecina was lacking. I still loved the overall sandwich, the cheese, sauce, bun, veggies, but the meat was a bit bland.

      What fillings would you guys rec for tacos, tortas, cecina etc? I was thinking today I'd get a cemita with chicken on it as an attempt to be somewhat healthy. But if I fall off that wagon I'd love to know what else to try. Also, how are their enchiladas?

      16 Replies
      1. re: 2slices

        The best things at Coatzingo IMO are the lengua, al pastor, and birria de res. Most everything else to fill tacos/tortas can be hit or miss. For cemitas, I would also try the milanesa de res (beef cutlet).

        My last visit to Coatzingo left me unimpressed with the pipian de pollo that was on the specials menu. I regretted veering away from my foolproof items.

        1. re: E Eto

          I wanted to get the tongue but it's steamed there, right? Doesn't sound so appetizing, steamed meat of any kind.

          The pastor was great and the carnitas were very good too. I love their chips and salsa.

          Has anyone had the quesedillas? They were making them while I was there, looked good.

          1. re: 2slices

            Don't like steamed meat? Have you tried the pastrami at Katz's (or any other kosher deli for that matter)? Yup, steamed (smoked too, but made tender by steaming). Or the buta kakuni at Sakagura? Yup, steamed (then simmered in soy sauce, mirin, etc, but yeah, steamed to tenderness). Don't let your preconceived ideas keep you away from something truly delicious. I'm not a big fan of the carnitas at Coatzingo. It's fine, but there's better carnitas a block away at one of the carts on Roosevelt. Try the lengua. Also, if you want a good vehicle for al pastor, try the chalupas al pastor.

            1. re: E Eto

              Jeez dad, ok. But pastrami is pickled and smoked, they don't steam it, its just to keep it warm and from drying out.

              1. re: E Eto

                Yes, EE, the chalupas get no love on this board but that is how I have my al pastor. You get what, six or eight with the crumbly cheese and you can mix and match salsa. The down side is that the last few tend to break apart from the heat and juice after siitting on the plate for a while. I try to get through the order quickly to avoid this problem. My other favorite vehicle for the al pastor is the chilaquiles. With a mountain of tortilla, sauce, meat, onion, cream and a fried egg on top it is a true trenchermans breakfast.

                1. re: stuartlafonda

                  Have you tried the huevos al pastor for breakfast? That's another fabulous way to enjoy the al pastor.

                  1. re: E Eto

                    I will add that to the list. One of the reasons I love TC is that they may not do everything well, but they do some things great and consistently.

                2. re: E Eto

                  Agree with the 3 tacos you listed above as being the top choices. And I think the steamed tongue tacos (lengua al vapor) are the best of the bunch. Usually tongue meat is diced up into (potentially) tough grilled cubes that tumble out of your tortilla when you take a bite. But the steamed tongue at TC is shredded, succulent, and flavorful. Makes for an ideal filling and it doesn't find a way on to your lap when you eat it........And the lengua en salse verde plato may be the overall best thing on the menu there....At least it's my favorite.

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    My favorite too, Silverjay. My wife always orders something different every time we go but I always order the lengua en salsa verde on weekdays and the goat special on the weekends. two awesome dishes.

                  2. re: E Eto

                    I'm also not a big fan of carnitas but my hubby loves them here. Carnitas and Al Pastor are his fav. I love the carne asada and tripe tacos. We're going to try lengua tacos and cemita sandwiches next.

                3. re: E Eto

                  Went yesterday and ordered the lengue, pastor and birria de res and I completely agree, the best tacos I've had there. Previously I'd had the carnitas, chicken and steak, and previous trips the pastor had been un-spectacular. Yesterday each 3 were fantastic. I think in the past maybe the pastor had already been sliced and was just being reheated, but yesterday it had much more flavor. Describing the tongue as have a brisket quality as someone else did is a pretty good description. If I were to order 3 tacos I would def get these again as they compliment each other well too.

                  1. re: E Eto

                    I always got the milanesa de res but for a change of pace, I tried carne enchilada. This ended up being two boneless pork cutlets marinated in red stuff (chili?); it ended up tough however; still kinda good but nowhere near as good as a pounded, breaded and fried piece of beef.

                    regarding the rest of the cemita . . . I dunno, seems kinda slippin! the lettuce I really noticed this time, no papalo, not that much heat; good amount of the shredded cheese, guajilo pepper was there, but tiny and didn't make its signature presence known. Overall still good but definitely not the #1 monster I always thought it was. But again, I did try a different filling so that might make a difference.

                    I've always placed TC at the top but . . . . . . I will try Tia Julia next!

                    E Eto, any chance you saw a guy walk in to TC last night with a bike and really bright orange jacket?

                    1. re: bigjeff

                      Yeah, I would think carne enchilada would be kind of tough for a cemita/torta, since it's a dried meat, kind of like a half-way beef jerky. I recently really enjoyed a carnitas cemita at Tia Julia, since I wasn't in the mood for the fried milanesa. Man, that was good.

                      My last venture to Coatzingo was a few days ago. Didn't catch anyone with a bright orange jacket ... besides mine.

                      1. re: E Eto

                        haha, just checking; indeed the bright orange jacket was mine but when I was coming in, I saw a guy leaving the joint who vaguely reminded me of you (when we met a loooooooong time ago at a Chow potluck/meetup at No Idea Bar) and I thought you were doing a check-in; which you apparently did a few days ago!

                  2. re: 2slices

                    the specials can be hit or miss - but the hits are a tremendous reward , and the misses are still learning adventures. last time I had stuffed cactus pads. pretty interesting and good.

                    1. re: 2slices

                      I hit TC twice on my recent visit to NYC and couldn't resist going for a Cemita on both occasions, since that's something we lack in San Francisco. My first was with al pastor (my favorite Mexican meat prep) and it was great. Burying my face in that thing gave me a "don't bother me, I'm eating" moment that Carl's Junior copywriters could only dream of. The second time I tried the carnitas Cemita which was good, too, thought the carnitas had a texture and flavor that was unexpectedly different from what I've been used to,

                    2. Does anyone know if the branch in the 70s (72nd?) is open again? That branch seemed to have all the goat dishes, which weren't at the 82nd street branch. Are the goat specials good?

                      Second the tongue tacos. Also liked a spicy pork (enchilada?) one, too. That salsa is amazing.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: janethepain

                        I don't know about the dishes you've mentioned but they're definitely open.

                        Taqueria Coatzingo
                        76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                        1. re: janethepain

                          The Coatzingo on Roosevelt and 76th had goat specials only on the weekend. As I mentioned earlier, it's one of my two favorite dishes. Unfortunately, there was no goat on the regular menu, nor have I ever seen it as a special on a weekday. I haven't been back since they reopened but plan on going this weekend specifically for the goat.

                          1. re: el jefe

                            only on the weekends? good to know - I was crushed when I had to go to the other branch and there was nothing goaty on the menu. I think they normally have goat tacos though, no? I'm going to try to get there this weekend, maybe I'll bump into you haha

                            1. re: janethepain

                              afaik, goat tacos are only on the weekend too.

                              1. re: el jefe

                                I tried Coatzingo a few weeks ago after reading the rave reviews on this site and was pretty disappointed. the tacos were okay, but definitely not spectacular.

                        2. Just went on Saturday. Had goat barbacoa, tongue and headstuff (cabeza) tacos. Goat was very moist and juicy, tongue was good as always, and headstuff was good too. For whatever reason, I think the salsa is better at the 82nd street branch, as this time it wasn't mindblowingly good. Thoroughly enjoyed my meal there.

                          On the specials list, there was pasita negra and pasita blanca. Does anyone know what these are? I can't find it online. I hope I got the name right....

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: janethepain

                            Here's my question: is there any schedule to the specials? Any way to predict what will be a special when? tacos and otherwise?
                            A week ago they had cabeza tacos on special. I was in the company of a nice young lady and didnt want to subject her to me eating brain... when will it be back???

                            I had cabeza at fiesta mexicana a month ago, it was great. but I dont know what their story is now with the taco stand and such.

                            1. re: Jeffsayyes

                              Note that cabeza isn't brain. Seso is brain. Cabeza is face meat, or cheek meat, if you prefer something that goes down easier for the lady. And I don't know if there ever was a schedule for the specials at Coatzingo. The only thing on schedule is the chivo on the weekends.

                              1. re: Jeffsayyes

                                Just went today to the Coatzingo on Roosevelt and 76th and they had cabeza tacos on special. Great meat with occasional random gelatinous/chewy parts. Terrific!

                            2. Enchilada report:

                              red sauce enchiladas 1 of each beef chicken and cheese. top notch sauce, really good fresh cheese on top. The cheese enchilada was the same type of cheese they use in the cemitas, nice and thick like a piece of fresh mozz. The beef is a carne asada, excellent. The chicken was good, lightly grilled so it's actually not dry but compared to the other 2 it's just not so exciting.

                              The less gringo the place the less likely I am to get enchiladas as I like to try something new. Well I'm glad I got these as they are better than any I've had recently. They blow the De Mole enchiladas out of the water, not really much of a feat IMO ;)