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Best tacos al pastor on or near Roosevelt Ave?

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I'm wondering what folks' best sources are for good tacos al pastor on Roosevelt Ave. Strong preference for those that are actually spit roasted.

It's been a while since I did some al pastor digging in these parts... but I know there are a lot of choices. I went to Coatzingo a long time ago and had their al pastor. I remember thinking they are pretty good, but don't remember them being completely remarkable (but I have a bad memory).

How are the ones coming off of that corner spit set up on Junction? I searched here on the board and I think it's called La Espiga? Are they pretty consistent?

Any other favorites?

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  1. You only tried Coatzingo once years ago? You should give them some more tries. Yeah, sometimes you might get slices that aren't so great, but that depends on which part of the spit is being sliced. But 90% of the time, it's quite good. I haven't seen any dips in the 8 or 9 years eating there, maybe just some inconsistency, but nothing that doesn't fix itself with another visit.

    If the spicing and flavor of the pastor is your issue, then maybe try Restaurant Azteca on Greenpoint Ave/48th (where Roosevelt meets Queens Blvd/Greenpoint Ave). Their pastor is very good too. Further down Roosevelt, I liked the ones at the streetfront stall in front of Cholula Bakery (around 88th St). You might also want to try the al pastor from a place called Bella Puebla II, on 90th or 91st St just north of Roosevelt.

    I've been disappointed with the pastor from Espiga for a while, and haven't visited them in a while. They were basically slicing mostly raw pieces of pork from a barely warm spit and cooking it on the flat top. Why even bother with the spit?

    6 Replies
    1. re: E Eto

      Eric, I've been to coatzingo a few times, just only had the al pastor there once. Will definitely try it again then. Are they running their spit through the day, do you know?

      Now that you describe Espiga, I think I remember you saying that a long time ago. Agreed... seems like they are defeating the purpose.

      Great tops on the other ones too. I need to do a long walk for a late lunch here soon.

      1. re: adamclyde

        The al pastor is available throughout the day at both branches of Coatzingo. To amend what I wrote earlier, I went by the area earlier and found that Bella Puebla doesn't have the al pastor like they once did. They have renovated both locations (one on Roosevelt around 93rd, other on 90th St), but they might have the pastor spit available on the weekends. Same with the street stall in front of Cholula. Probably available during the weekends. I'll add another place, Tulcingo Deli #3 just south of Roosevelt on Junction Blvd. Pretty good pastor from the spit, but like the Espigas, they had to completely cook the undercooked slices from the spit on the flat top.

        I peered into what I think is Tacotento (I couldn't see a name from outside), which is the place that used to be Grano de Oro, then became the second outpost of La Espiga, but the pastor spit looked dry and kind of dead. But I'll concede that it might be a good sign as it looked hacked up from the lunch rush, and what I saw were the dregs. I'll check them out next time I'm around there.

        1. re: adamclyde

          Where is the spit at the TC on 76th st, I've looked for it behind the counter and haven't noticed it, so perhaps it is off during the day. I go for lunch and tho I usually get a Cemita or Echiladas and when I did have the pastor I didn't love it compared to the birria de res or lengua. The chuletas in pipian and the ribs in green sauce are other favs.

          1. re: 2slices

            The al pastor spit at Taqueria Coatzingo is viewable from the front window, almost exactly where it's been for almost a decade since they opened. I don't know if I've ever *not* seen the spit going.

            1. re: E Eto

              K. I'll keep a look out next time I go, prolly later this week woot

              1. re: 2slices

                Found it. It was in the left corner if ur in the back looking toward the kitchen. I think during the week they might not keep it going, or not on slow days. My friday night dinner was included pastor and it was soo much better than when i've had it on weekdays.

                My order got screwed up of crouse and i ended up paying an extra $2, but rly its $2 so who cares. Yum.

      2. I havent been that into the al pastor at coatzingo. i think id like some more spices. to me, it is hard to get better than their carnitas tacos. I'm willing to try other al pastors though.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jeffsayyes

          Hmmm. I've always thought Coatzingo's carnitas were on the mediocre side. I try it every once and a while, but I find I'd rather go out of my way to avoid it, since I could just walk outside of Coatzingo and have a much, much better carnitas at the El Pasito taco cart, or the Tacos Guichos taco cart (82nd St), or the Cuatro Vientos taco truck (65th St), or the Tacos Y Quesadillas Mexicos cart (61st St), among many others. On the other hand, the pastor is one of the better items of its kind that I've found in NYC. It's not the best I've ever had, but among the ones I've had between Queens, Brooklyn, Hell's Kitchen, and Spanish Harlem, it is one of the better versions.

          1. re: E Eto

            funny that all the carnitas places you mentioned were carts/trucks. Wonder if it's coincidence or just the carts are beating the taquerias in the carnitas categories...

        2. I'm a fan of the al pastor and most things at Tacontento (96-15 Roosevelt). The al pastor is not always available but should be on any weekend.

          1. I usually get my tacos at Coatzingo on 82nd Street, but I had a hankering for tacos while waiting for my fish to be cleaned at Seatide on Roosevelt and Warren, so I stopped in at the Mexican restaurant a couple of doors from them on that block. Sorry to say that I don't remember the name, but I really enjoyed both the al pastor and the carne enchilada. They were both generous tacos and they came with a red chili sauce that was wonderful. They have a window from the kitchen onto the street, but it was hot and they told me to wait inside so I really didn't notice if they had a spit or not, but I'll certainly go back for more.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JH Jill

              Had the Aa pastor yesterday at Tortelleria Nixtmal on 104th. It was damn good. Pepe made sure it was nice and brown and sliced off tiny pieces of the pineapple atop. I loved watching him baste it with the HUGE syringe. Sat outdoors and was reminded of my childhood in Mexico City...

              1. re: ZenFoodist

                re: al pastor at Nixtamal... is that new??? I don't remember seeing that.
                their carnitas are pretty ridiculous though - possibly only avail on weekends.

                driving around corona yesterday.... there are sooo many places I want to eat. I love corona.

                1. re: ZenFoodist

                  WHOA. They have al pastor? On a spit? I was there only a week and a half ago and they didn't have that. That's a good addition.

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    The al pastor has been there since Sunday and it is divine! Ask Pepe to cut you off some little pieces of the roasted pineapple that sits atop the pork. Yum~~~

              2. had a trio of tacos from coatzingo last night: the tripe, the lengua and the al pastor. The al pastor was pretty nice, maybe a little old (it was very late) but, well-seasoned, tender, interesting flavor. the tripe killed, and the lengua was very nice. this place still holds it down but the nixtmal option sounds amazing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bigjeff

                  why does everything nixtamal do seem at a higher level?? damn, they are too good.
                  I don't question it at all, if they do al pastor, it must be amazing.