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Mar 5, 2010 03:48 AM

El Paso Taqueria

Hey hounds, going to El Paso Taqueria this weekend. Do any of you have any recommendations/favorite items? Thanks in advance and TGIF!

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  1. They push the guacamole pretty hard to start, it's good; nachos are very good; I also like the sangria. My favorite entree is the pollo al carbon -- nice, generous platter with a bit of guac, salsa cruda, rice and beans...used to be accompanied by tortillas and a condiment dish with radishes and salsa verde, now they're extra. Not a wow, but a solid, satisfying place. (NB: Decline the table at the far back near the serving station and bathroom if offered.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: City Kid

      Hahha...thanks for the tip! Will do and report back.

      1. re: City Kid

        I think their new large location has resulted in a decline in quality of food.

        They have 3 locations now, I like the food best at the 97th St. branch, but frankly none of them are all that good anymore. The smaller one (now closed) on Lex used to be good...but it's gone.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          I still think it's great, but I do agree that 97th is the best (and has the cheapest, most complete menu).

      2. Given your provenance, I don't know that you will like El Paso. Quesadillas, burritos and mole have been merely okay. Guacamole and salsas have been unformly bland and the margaritas weak. Given the alternatives in the area, we've since stopped ordering from them; but you might leave happy with calamares, chilaquiles, or pollo al carbon. Last time I was there their daily special was a lamb dish, mixiote I believe, which looked very good.

        10 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          Can you share good alternatives, including Mexican/Latin nearby? I'd love to know, thanks!

          1. re: City Kid

            I would call this neither nearby (10+ blocks), nor an alternative (it's more of a takeout place), but Taco Mix on 116th/3rd has the best tacos in the general area.

            1. re: City Kid

              If you want good tacos....Taco Mix on 116th St. It's not a sit-down place though.

              1. re: City Kid

                It depends on what you want:
                Jalapeño Deli makes great tortas and outstanding quesadillas. Good guacamole, too. Cafe Ollin trumps them for cemitas, though.
                Itzocan is good for upscale Mexican.
                San Francisco de Asis is what El Paso used to be. Good tacos, good larger dishes, particularly Pueblan items.
                La Fonda Boricua is okay, though I prefer the cuchifritos place on 116th if I'm getting something "lighter."

                Aside from La Fonda Boricua, none of these places are attractive, atmospheric restaurants. These are barebones, Spanish-speaking cantinas where there is little decor other than El Santo Niño and a television set. The focus is on the food, not creature comforts, though I could hardly think of anything more comforting than a well-prepared bowl of pozole anyhow.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Thanks to all above. I've lived in Carnegie Hill forever...know about Itzocan and Boriqua but not the others. Definitely going to try Taco Mix, Cafe Ollin, SF de Asis, and Jalapeno Deli, which I have passed many times. Great to know since El Paso has gotten somewhat "fancified!"

                  1. re: City Kid

                    Check out Casa de los Tacos on 1st Ave. some time. Home made style food, comfortable place (very downscale).

                    1. re: City Kid

                      I always find something new to try walking around there. There's a taco truck on 3rd and 116th on the weekends. I've seen tamales and aguas frescas being sold by woman out of a shopping cart. Several restaurants I have been meaning to try. Please keep us updated on your finds.

                  2. re: City Kid

                    There is a new place on 103rd and Lex called "La Fonda" (unrelated to La Fonda Boricua, nearby).

                    It's very good, authentic, traditional, low key. It's been mentioned on this board a little bit. I've been there three times in the past few weeks and have really enjoyed it. Much more flavor than El Paso has these days.

                    La Fonda Boricua
                    169 E 106th St, New York, NY 10029

                    El Paso
                    134 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                  3. re: JungMann

                    I agree! We went tonight. It was horrible. No seasoning except cayenne. No flavor at all. bland guacamole, bland soupy beans, bland chicken in skinny horrible sauced enchiladas, just stunk!

                  4. A few months ago I saw many good reviews so I expected a great meal. Boy, was I disappointed. I am an ex-Texan and a pretty good cook and I do know good Mexican food. This was NOT good at all. The enchiladas were skinny with barely any unseasoned chicken inside, the beans were so few and soupy (maybe to stretch the dollar?) the guacamole was so so bland-really nothing was good at all. Really a disappointment. After coming home, I see now more recent reviews were also very disappointing. I will not go back. I hate to go out to eat and find my cooking is better than the restaurant! Really not good at all.

                    El Paso Taqueria
                    1643 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029