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Dos Toros- new taco/burrito joint in Union Square

I stopped by here last night after watching the pitiful Giants.

The original description sounded promising. 2 brothers from Cali opening a taco/burrito place with a big focus on fresh ingredients and flavors.

We got one pork and one chicken taco. It was pretty standard. Not much different from Chipotle, but no cilantro lime rice.

So for those of you that don't like Chipotle's rice, you will like this place, otherwise its another Mexican in NYC fail.

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Dos Toros
137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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  1. I totally disagree. The steak is very, very good. And the quesadillas are the hidden treasure here. I had their "basic" quesadilla last night (no meat) and it was magic. It even great several hours later. And I've never thought of quesadillas as anything special, but they've made it so.

    1. If you think this place isn't much different from a Chipotle, you aren't paying attention. For one thing, they actually melt the cheese on the tortilla, which is the key to a great Mission-style burrito, and which Chipotle fails to do. Second, cilantro and lime have no business in rice -- one of the main problems with Chipotle. Third, you should really order the burritos, which are what SF is known for (Dos Toros is modeled on Gordo Taqueria).

      4 Replies
      1. re: a_and_w

        >Second, cilantro and lime have no business in rice

        Why?

        1. re: hon

          Sorry, I was being a little flip. I don't think cilantro and lime have any business on burrito rice because it throws off the flavor profile, imo. Chipotle purports to be inspired by Mission style burritos, but you'll never find cilantro-lime rice in a Mission place. It's all variations on Spanish rice. I really wish Dos Toros had existed when I lived in Manhattan. In fact, I wouldn't mind if they opened one up in LA lol!

        2. re: a_and_w

          Gordo is really the only place in SF that's known for melting a slice of cheese in their tortilla (maybe La Cumbre, or La Taquiria do it too, but not sure). I agree this place has some similarities. I thought the owners were actually from San DIego, for some reason though.

          Tacos are very generous with fillings, and pretty hefty. It's pretty darn good, and an improvement over most any other option in Manhattan.

          1. re: sugartoof

            Yes, La Cumbre, La Taqueria, and Gordo all melt slices of cheese, but even places that don't use slices will melt their cheese on the tortilla. Anway, I'm pretty sure the Dos Toros guys are related with Gordo, which has spawned a number of East Coast clones, particularly in the Boston area.

        3. I think the tacos are the weakest of the three offerings. The quesadillas are fantastic, and while I haven't had the burrito yet, my husband swears it's the first good one he's had since we left CA 5 years ago. Even the tacos do use well above-average ingredients, though. Rarely have I had chicken in a quesadilla that actually caught my attention b/c it was delicious (a great balance of char and moistness)

          1. completely disagree...Dos Toros is not up there with the greatest mission style buritos from SF yet, but...so what...They are the best burritos this town (which has been sorely lacking forever) has to offer, bar none.

            The guys that opened this place are young, inexperienced and trying to be successful in the big city during a recession....give them a break and stop calling for their demise because you like Chipolte better. And besides judging by the lines they ain't gonna fail....

            1. Ugh. Dos Toros was one of my greatest disappointments in the last several months. I got a chicken quesadilla, which Serious Eats gave a big thumbs up to, and found it to be entirely underwhelming. It just didn't have the magic mojo of solid Mexican cuisine.
              It's back to Queens and Sunset Park for my Mexican vittles...

              1. I love this place, it seriously is my biggest addiction right now. Get the burritos, with guacamole. All the meats are excellent, the grilled chicken especially so. The green hot sauce is the secret ingression, which I get on the side and apply at will. The red hot sauce is REALLY hot. the first time I went here I made the mistake of having it added to my burrito, which I could barely eat - so be warned. Can't compare it to actual SF burritos but this is great stuff, way better than garbage like Burritoville.

                What NYC really needs now are Chicago-style burritos - no rice, heavy on the meat and cheese!

                1 Reply
                1. re: joeyz

                  I agree about the hot sauce -- it's scalding!! I'm someone who loves spicy food, the spicier the better, but that sauce could peel the paint of walls. I felt like I needed to put my mouth up to a fire hose after taking a few bites of my carne asada burrito. Overall, I enjoyed the burrito -- which was huge -- but it was a little soggy 20 minutes after buying it. I'd recommend eating it on site or nearby to maximize the experience.

                2. Dos Toros is the truth.

                  High quality, fresh, simple, home made, affordable. Get the quesadilla with "the works" though everything is good.

                  Love the pork.

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                  Dos Toros
                  137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. I've only had the tacos at Dos Toros. Not bad. The quality of the steak was very high -- and I don't normally even like steak very much. And the guac was good and flavorful.

                    I liked the tacos at Paquito's on 3rd Ave. better. But you could do a heck of a lot worse than Dos Toros. This is Manhattan and you're below 96th St., so this place is a step in the right direction. I figured it would be much worse than this and was pleasantly surprised. Still, something in the tacos here doesn't quite fully mesh.

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                    Dos Toros
                    137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. As a former SF resident who does not eat burritos in NYC, this was pretty much what I expected, especially in NYU-land. Burrito was passable but didn't really have any zing. The hot sauce was fine but the "salsa" I really disliked (unripe tomatoes and raw onions, ew) , and the chicken was dry. Beans are bland.
                      The process for getting your food seems doofey -- you give your order to one guy, and then another guy makes it and keeps asking if you want this or that. And if you hate dude-speak jabber, you'll not want to be here. (Add this joint to Trader Joe's and the 14th St. corridor is turning into one California-dude-style conversation-fest.)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Up With Olives

                        Asking you what you want on your burrito? Raw onions in the pico? You've just described half the Mission-style taquerias I've tried.

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          Sorry, maybe I was unclear. I had to speak to more than one person about each item in the order. And the pico de gallo called "salsa" there tasted wholly of raw onions because the tomatoes were unripe and flavorless. Also when I was trying to discern what they meat by hot sauce -- like what kind, red? green? etc? -- the guy immediately decided I was scared of hot and he tried to egg me on to "try some!"

                          This just isn't the place for me.

                      2. I agree with you. All the meats are inadequately flavored. The steak is utterly tasteless, the chicken (they use thigh meat, which is cheaper than breast; the moist-dry thigh-breast distinction is inapposite as the other burrito incredients prevent any possibility of dryness) is unflavored, and don't get me started on the fatty pork (pork is a meat that MUST be properly marinated, and the gringos who are trying to simulate authentic Mexican haven't a clue about this axiom). Simple marinades would make the meats (and, therefore, the meat-based dishes) credible. However, NYers are so desperate for Mexican that even a place providing such lousy food as Dos Toros can thrive.

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                        Dos Toros
                        137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: alleyesq

                          I don't think they're going after authentic Mexican at all, it's meant to be authentic West Coast Mexican-American.

                          I've always enjoyed that their carne asada does taste marinated to me, but probably not for days on end. It doesn't have anything to do with "gringos" as you say. The place Dos Toros is most often compared to is an old Mexican American business called Gordo's, known for an outdated approached, such as using a deli sliced square of cheese instead of grated.

                          Have you found a burrito in NY you prefer that meets your expectations yet?

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                          Dos Toros
                          137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                          1. re: alleyesq

                            Dos Toros was about as mediocre as it gets. SF style perhaps, but it's basically a Chipotle knockoff as far as I can tell. Yeah, they melt the cheese in the steamer, but so what? It certainly didn't remind me of the burritos I ate in the Mission District when I lived there in the late 80s, but then, I had my favorite joints and didn't care for a good many of the popular places. The carnitas was fine, but I can get good/better carnitas at so many "real" Mexican places for a fraction of the cost that Dos Toros probably won't even be a blip on my radar. I would have hoped for something better from all the CH accolades. Oh well.

                            1. re: E Eto

                              "Yeah, they melt the cheese in the steamer, but so what? It certainly didn't remind me of the burritos I ate in the Mission District when I lived there in the late 80s"

                              Melting a square slice of cheese isn't typical of Mission St. style burritos. Gordo's is the place they're referencing the most. Dos Toros is comparable to some of the mediocre burritos in the Mission now, including Papalote, and while they don't have a lot of good competition in NYC yet, I can't think of a drastically better burrito in the Tri State area..can you? Hell, in NY, Chipotle Burritoville, even Chevy's are formidable.

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                              Dos Toros
                              137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                Dos Toros is the closest you can get to Mission style burritos in NYC. if they were in the Mission district they'd be average, but at their location they are the only game in town.

                                Highly recommended if you need your burrito fix and are stuck in NYC.

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                                Dos Toros
                                137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                          2. Dos Toros is opening a branch in the West Village on May 24.

                            http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/05/...

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                            Dos Toros
                            137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                            Dos Toros
                            11 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014