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Tacos Matamoros & Sunset Park

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BigV Nov 29, 2009 01:16 PM

Had a very solid meal at Tacos Matamoros in Sunset Park yesterday. My wife and I sampled the tacos, mole poblano, and sopes and all were very good- definitely worthy of a return visit. The mexican hot chocolate was solid but not quite as chocolatey as De Mole's version. The atmosphere of Sunset Park was also a plus- it was like a colder, more congested mini version of East LA. The local grocery stores, meat markets, and bakeries had a lot of items you don't normally find in NY such as white hominy, cotija cheese, pan dulce, and various types of mole. The street vendors sold elote, churros, champurrado, and horchata.

If you like Mexican food, Sunset Park and Tacos Matamoros are worthy of a visit.

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  1. r
    ruffneck RE: BigV Jan 3, 2010 12:42 PM

    After reading all the great reviews of Tacos Matamoros my husband and I decided to try it the other night when craving mexican in sunset park. And I have to say we were extremely disappointed. The tacos that everyone seems to rave about had chunks of fat and cartilage in them (pork and steak) and were cold as was all the food. Reading the recommendations we also decided to try the mole poblano which was ice cold so hard to determine if it was any good, but I'd pass hot or cold. And the chicken with the mole was all dark meat and again fatty. The rice and beans - ice cold so the beans were all congealed. The only thing decent was the taquitos but really no better than you can get at Taco Bell. And for this cold mediocre food it was not cheap - over $30. So I would tell anyone looking for good mexican to stay away from this place.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ruffneck
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      carfreeinla RE: ruffneck Jan 3, 2010 12:56 PM

      Sorry that you had such a bad experience. We eat at Tacos Matamoros quite often and have never had a bad meal- not even an OK meal. I travel between NY and LA and TX and this is my first choice for antijotes. And if I ordered something and it was ice cold ( not hot but ice cold?), I would send it back.

      1. re: ruffneck
        t
        Tay RE: ruffneck Jan 3, 2010 01:42 PM

        I agree with carfreeinla. If everything was so cold perhaps something was wrong with their oven. There have just been too many good reviews to write off this restaurant.
        Why didn't you inform the staff?
        BTW...$30 is not very costly for what you ordered.

      2. r
        ruffneck RE: BigV Jan 3, 2010 02:52 PM

        something wrong with their oven? I doubt they cook all this food in an oven, most is probably on a stove, in a deep fryer, etc.. And I would hope if there was something wrong with their oven or cooking equipment they would inform their customers. It took well over 30 minutes to get the food and did try to inform the waitresses, whom while very nice, did not at all understand what we were trying to tell them. At that point it didn't seem to make sense to wait another 30 minutes to just get back the same fatty meat but only hot. And I do think that $30 is a lot for 2 small tacos, taquitos and an enchilada, especially when its not good. For $30 you can feed 6-8 people in sunset park and get much better food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ruffneck
          Flaco RE: ruffneck Jan 3, 2010 04:39 PM

          Something is wrong with this picture... just sounds muy raro. Taco Bell? Maybe that's the problem, being a frame of reference.

          1. re: ruffneck
            s
            StheJ RE: ruffneck Jan 3, 2010 04:49 PM

            Not to be difficult but... where can you feed 6-8 people in sunset park for $30? And, the more important question, would it be chow-worthy?

            1. re: ruffneck
              h
              honeyrider RE: ruffneck May 19, 2010 07:13 AM

              Way late to this thread but this is puzzling... I completely understand that the restaurant could have had a bad night, however, I do NOT get how you paid $30 for your food. Last night we got:
              1 small taco
              1 large taco
              1 burrito
              1 quesadilla
              1 ceviche tostada
              1 veggie tostada
              and our total was $24.40!

            2. r
              ruffneck RE: BigV Jan 3, 2010 05:07 PM

              Look, I wasn't trying to be difficult either - I was just giving my opinion of my experience at this restaurant the other night. I'm not sure why everyone on this board is getting so defensive. Isn't it possible that they had an off night when I went? I was using the Taco Bell reference in a sarcastic way to show just how mediocre the food I had was. And I've personally had better food at some of the taco trucks/stands in sunset park and that is what I meant by feeding 6-8 people for $30. I don't think in order for the food to be chow-worthy it needs to be an actual restaurant especially since I see many posts on this site for non-restaurants. I was just pointing out that maybe this place isn't consistently good or maybe I was the one unlucky person to be there on a bad night. To each his own.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ruffneck
                s
                StheJ RE: ruffneck Jan 3, 2010 05:26 PM

                I won't debate your point about getting great food from stands/trucks. That happens all the time in big cities... I will still, however, debate the feeding 6-8 people for $30 from a stand/truck or restaurant.This is what's throwing me off.

                1. re: ruffneck
                  b
                  Barry Strugatz RE: ruffneck Jan 4, 2010 06:57 AM

                  Curious as to the locations of the places you prefer.

                  1. re: ruffneck
                    t
                    Tay RE: ruffneck Jan 4, 2010 01:35 PM

                    ruffneck
                    " I'm not sure why everyone on this board is getting so defensive. Isn't it possible that they had an off night when I went?"

                    Yes. It's not only possible, but given the consistently good reviews, it's highly probable.

                  2. driggs RE: BigV Jan 4, 2010 01:39 PM

                    I do like Tacos Matamoros, but from only a food standpoint I prefer Xochimilco across the street.

                    Xochimilco is food only type place. I have had wonderful stuff here; english skills often zero, decor negative, and it can get a bit dirty. Still I have found the food to be better.

                    Matamoros does have one of the sillier suggestive Neon signs. Included in picture below.

                    1. k
                      Kitchop RE: BigV Jan 4, 2010 03:06 PM

                      I love Tacos Matamoros. I've been eating there on a fairly regular basis since I first set foot in the place last spring. The best piece of advice I can give anyone about Matamoros is this: As yummy as the tacos are, try other things on the menu too. Do not just stick to tacos. That said, I do definitely recommend their tacos.

                      But I'm addicted to their shrimp cocktail. Sometimes I get my own. Sometimes I share one. But it's hard to resist them. And love their mole poblano. I also love a good cemita (with extra chipotle) there. And I really like their burritos. Oh, and their camarones al mojo de ajo (shrimp in garlic sauce) is yummy too. Also, thanks to the recommendation of a Chowhound, I tried and loved the costillos en adobo rojo (pork chop in red sauce). One of the things I want to try next there is their seafood soup. It looks great. I've also been meaning to try one of their steaks. I see plenty of those steaks coming out of that kitchen and plenty of young Mexican guys looking like they are really enjoying them.

                      And let me not fail to mention that the make a good margarita. And even with the addition of margaritas, the food prices have remained very inexpensive. I don't know how anyone can complain about the prices.

                      Tacos Matamoras quickly became one of my personal go-to comfort places. I love the food and margaritas and find the atmposphere and staff very comfy and friendly.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Kitchop
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                        irvingk RE: Kitchop Jan 5, 2010 05:10 AM

                        Where in Sunset Park is Tacos Matamoras located.

                        1. re: irvingk
                          k
                          Kitchop RE: irvingk Jan 5, 2010 02:08 PM

                          It's on Fifth Ave at 45th Street.

                      2. Bob Martinez RE: BigV Aug 17, 2010 05:59 AM

                        I'd been meaning to try Tacos Matamoros for awhile and since my GF and I were recently walking past the 57th St. branch it seemed like the perfect time to drop in.

                        She had the spicy pork taco and I had the the chorizo. A $1.50 buys you a regular taco and for $2.50 you can upgrade to the grande. We splurged. The name is a bit of a misnomer - two grandes would make a light lunch and one served nicely as a snack. The ingredients were fresh and the spicing jazzed it up a bit. They served radishes, limes and hot sauce on the side and we took advantage of them.

                        While the place is utterly bare bones it's clean and the serving staff is very sweet. The movie posters are a bonus.

                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                        13 Replies
                        1. re: Bob Martinez
                          Steve R RE: Bob Martinez Aug 17, 2010 08:44 AM

                          Thanks Bob... I gotta make it a point to get there soon. It sounds great. By the way, you need to get copies of the photos you took of the posters to Rancho Gordo.

                          1. re: Steve R
                            Bob Martinez RE: Steve R Aug 17, 2010 09:06 AM

                            I'll bet he's got them all already. :-)

                          2. re: Bob Martinez
                            driggs RE: Bob Martinez Aug 17, 2010 09:10 AM

                            Going to pump Xochimilco across the street one more time. I find the food to be so much better.

                            Also, cant say enough about getting early and watching the sunset from sunset park park. It really is a wonderful place to hang, and makes you realize why sunset park got its name.

                            here are are few pictures I have snapped there...

                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/arnade/s...

                            1. re: driggs
                              Bob Martinez RE: driggs Aug 17, 2010 09:53 AM

                              Instead of hijacking this thread (and burying the info about Xochimilco where most people won't look for it) it might be better to start a dedicated thread about the restaurant. Right now there isn't one.

                              1. re: driggs
                                j
                                jaywalker RE: driggs Aug 18, 2010 05:19 AM

                                I'm with you on Xochimilco. It's clearly a step up. Matamoros is not too bad but seems to be running on empty. Lots of tourists etc gravitate there since it's bigger and more commercial. Better to explore the area for other more interesting possibilities. Piaxtla has been mentioned and is quite good too.

                                1. re: jaywalker
                                  Bob Martinez RE: jaywalker Aug 18, 2010 06:27 AM

                                  "Lots of tourists etc gravitate there since it's bigger and more commercial."

                                  The day I was there it was filled with tourists from Mexico.

                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                                    j
                                    jaywalker RE: Bob Martinez Aug 18, 2010 11:06 AM

                                    Sounds like it illustrates the point exactly. I mean who would look to overseas tourists for guidance in Sunset Park? Following the hoardes to large commercial establishments is not the answer. Better to check out other options like Xochimilco first (including tacos and their mole) and then proceed with a comparison. This neighborhood has so much more to offer!

                                    -----
                                    Xochimilco
                                    653 Melrose Ave, Bronx, NY 10455

                                    1. re: jaywalker
                                      Bob Martinez RE: jaywalker Aug 18, 2010 11:53 AM

                                      My tongue was firmly in my cheek when I mentioned Mexican tourists. As I said in my original post, I was the only non Mexican in the place. My assumption, since I didn't check IDs, was that they were locals based on the fact that they were dressed like all the other people walking around the neighborhood. They weren't wearing "I Heart NY" t-shirts and carrying cameras.

                                      Sunset Park, either on the 5th Ave. Latino strip or the 8th Ave. Asian strip, isn't a tourist area at all.

                                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                                        jen kalb RE: Bob Martinez Aug 18, 2010 12:01 PM

                                        LOL

                                    2. re: Bob Martinez
                                      driggs RE: Bob Martinez Aug 18, 2010 01:28 PM

                                      I been going to both places for a long long time now, and I can tell you they both are equally "real", if that is what your looking for.

                                      Both are great for food, but Xochi better on that count in my book.

                                      Matamoros is much better if you want to drink beers and have fun. Xochi is dry and better if you in a quiet mood.

                                      1. re: driggs
                                        Bob Martinez RE: driggs Aug 18, 2010 01:40 PM

                                        Does Matamoros have beer or is it that they let you BYO?

                                    3. re: jaywalker
                                      jen kalb RE: jaywalker Aug 18, 2010 11:22 AM

                                      Its a great idea especially as locals to explore the other options, but I dont get your other point. maybe mexican tourists have a clue about mexican food. Just as you might consider italian tourists or french tourists to have a clue about whether an italian or french place outside the country was good. Or maybe their local family members took them there...

                                    4. re: driggs
                                      jen kalb RE: driggs Aug 31, 2010 08:50 AM

                                      added for address purposes only - hopefully the map will readjust.

                                      -----
                                      Tacos Xochimilco
                                      4501 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                                  2. Bob Martinez RE: BigV Aug 17, 2010 10:15 AM

                                    Earlier this month my GF and I visited Tacos Matamoros in Sunset Park. The results were so good that last Saturday I made a solo return visit to their other restaurant on 45th St. and 5th. This place is the mother ship - easily 5 times larger than the 57th St. branch. It has a tiled floor and since the dining room was 60% full at 2:30 on a Saturday the sound bounced around merrily. It reminded me of a Mexican version of Sripraphai.

                                    There must have been 5 or 6 waitresses working the room, determined not to let you sit unserved for more than 2 minutes. After my very successful taco excursion a few weeks ago I had found their on line menu and every couple of days at slow times at work I gave it a look. A lot of things looked appealing but I had a date with their cemita.

                                    For some reason I was expecting something snacky, a light bite. This was a major miscalculation. Imagine a really big bar burger. Then increase the size by about 20% and you'll get an idea of the sheer heft of this thing. This is a serious sandwich - if you have one for lunch plan on eating a modest dinner.

                                    I ordered the pork al pastor, which came with the traditional string cheese, avacado, onions, a hint of cilantro, and red sauce. It was served on a semolina egg roll which was substantial enough to handle the weight of the ingredients . This was one of the better things I've eaten this year. There was a nice balance of flavors with plenty of variety. At $7 this is an insane value.

                                    Eating one of these sandwiches is not a neat exercise. The fillings are so generously packed that things spill out as you bite into it. I asked for a fork and finished everything. I'll certainly be back but next time I'll split the cemita and have a taco as a starter.

                                    At Matamoros you get dinner and a show. At one end of the room there was a large flat screen TV that showed a Spanish reality TV show with the volume turned down. It seems that a young starlet wanted a boob job and was visiting a doctor to explore her options. She was with a friend who had previously been his patient and the results were impressive. I was really intrigued by this story but unfortunately they changed the channel before I could see how things turned out.

                                    Then a street musician wandered into the restaurant and began to play the harmonica. After a few minutes parents sent their children over to drop dollar bills in his cup. The musician left after 5 minutes. No doubt he works all the restaurants on the 5th Ave. strip - there are dozens.

                                    I was the only non Mexican in the place; there were no hipsters to be seen. All this is less than 2 miles from Park Slope. It's a different world.

                                    http://www.grubhub.com/nyc/tacos-mata...

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Bob Martinez
                                      Silverjay RE: Bob Martinez Aug 17, 2010 11:32 AM

                                      Seconding the excellent cemitas here. I'm not sure if mine had papalo though, rather than cilantro...They also serve suadero and cabeza tacos- which I see more often at trucks than at restaurants. It was all families when I was last there.

                                      1. re: Silverjay
                                        t
                                        tex.s.toast RE: Silverjay Aug 17, 2010 07:19 PM

                                        matamoros serves both tortas and cemitas - i can say definitively that the cemitas come with papalo on them (because we tried one once because we'd never had one, and it was something id diplomatically call an acquired taste, one i couldnt possibly see confusing with cilantro).

                                        in a big fan of the buche at matamoros also, continuing the theme of variety meats more often found at trucks than in sit down places. im not sure if it was added recently (in the last year or so) or not, but the last time i was there the menus all had little strips of paper added between the printed layer and the plastic covering listing it as a taco option.

                                        1. re: tex.s.toast
                                          Silverjay RE: tex.s.toast Aug 17, 2010 08:14 PM

                                          I can definitely understand the sentiment of "papalo" being an acquired taste. It's bolder and more distinct than cilantro. I prefer it in cemitas since there is a lot going on already and the strong herby taste is brighter (stronger) than cilantro.....Looking forward to the bonus material menus that you mention.

                                          1. re: Silverjay
                                            h
                                            hhhippo RE: Silverjay Aug 17, 2010 10:26 PM

                                            Yes, just another confirmation that they put what is unmistakably papalo in the cemitas at Matamoros, not cilantro. I like your guys' diplomatic "acquired taste." My dining companion took a bite and called it "soapy." She could maybe use etiquette lessons from you.

                                            I've found the cemitas and tortas at Matamoros to be good but not great, but I'm always really happy about the tacos. I'm usually happiest with the tacos al pastor, carnitas, carne enchilada, and lengua. The one time I've been there earlier in the day, I had the chilaquiles there and they were OK, too.

                                            1. re: hhhippo
                                              jen kalb RE: hhhippo Aug 18, 2010 07:20 AM

                                              Its interesting that others have a problem with papalo - as I do with "vietnamese corander" or "laksa leaf)" (a polyganum) as well. All these leaves have a similar taste qualities to cilantro and culantro but while I acquired the taste for the latter two many years ago after having been initially repelled, these repel me now. Very strange

                                              1. re: jen kalb
                                                t
                                                TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis RE: jen kalb Aug 25, 2010 07:41 PM

                                                Mexican herbs such as epazote, quelites, pápalo have recently surfaced in NY markets toward summer's end ... and each fresh stem has posed a distinct challenge .... i'm not sure, however, if i'm up to the pepicha i recently picked up ... quite. quite assertive.

                                    2. t
                                      TomChowhound RE: BigV Aug 31, 2010 08:12 AM

                                      Where in Sunset Park is Taco Matamoros?

                                      EDIT: Never mind. I see someone else in this thread already asked that question, and it's on 5th and 45th.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: TomChowhound
                                        jen kalb RE: TomChowhound Aug 31, 2010 08:44 AM

                                        restaurant page link - remember you need to click the box and then fill in the black/select the pulldown option to get it - frankly, folks should do this just to get the link activated on a thread in which you are mentioning a place even if you dont want to add a review.

                                        -----
                                        Tacos Matamoros
                                        5717 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                                      2. r
                                        Ralphus RE: BigV Oct 12, 2010 09:38 AM

                                        I finally made the "trek" down to the 45th St location this past Sunday with a couple friends. As mentioned in previous posts, we appeared to be the only gringos eating there at the time which is usually a good sign. The place was packed at 2PM but we got a table in the back with no wait.

                                        My wife and I split the mole enchilada and four large tacos (the quantity of which I would regret for the rest of the day) - al pastor, lengua, carne asada and chorizo. The tacos were all very good, fresh ingedients, good guac and the meats well seasoned and not too fatty. The tongue and chorizo were probably my favorites as the spice and texture of the meats stood up to the additional chipotle hot sauce I used and the guac. My wife liked the mole but I found it a bit too sweet for my taste and was probably wiped out from eating the better part of four large tacos before that. The mango shake was delicious and based on other posts, I am regretting not ordering a marg. Our friend had a couple tamales and a torta and seemed quite pleased. all in for just over $30 for all three people. DEAL! I was full for about five hours after.

                                        I plan to visit some of the other places mentioned in these threads if they're any where near as good as Matamoros.

                                        -----
                                        Tacos Matamoros
                                        4508 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Ralphus
                                          Bob Martinez RE: Ralphus Oct 12, 2010 11:18 AM

                                          I got back there a few weeks ago. The Pollo Asado cemita is my new best friend. I've learned that my tolerance for papalo is limited so I remove most of it before I dig in. Other than that the sandwich is perfect.

                                        2. m
                                          mirandabrooklyn RE: BigV Oct 15, 2010 05:34 AM

                                          Jut stopped by yesterday to introduce a friend.
                                          3 tacos grande, Asada, Carnitas, Al Pastor +
                                          1 Tostada Beef

                                          Tacos still great! Guac supper fresh. Beef on Tostastada not as amazing but all ingredients were really fresh and beautifully prepared.

                                          Has not lost any of its deliciousness!

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