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Tortas Neza - Great tacos in Woodside

Joe MacBu Mar 8, 2011 11:50 PM

Tortas Neza recently opened a location on the southwest corner of Roosevelt and 54th St in Woodside (they have another location in Corona, which I have not been to). The immediate area does not seem to be great for keeping Mexican places afloat, but I truly hope these guys make it for a while. I think they could be in the top tier of the taco totem pole of Western Queens. Please do your part to keep this place alive - for my sake.

You can't go wrong when you get the basics down. The tortillas are robust and well griddled. The meats are properly executed: The braised lengua, while slightly salty, comes as large chunks of beefy tenderness; the carnitas is moist and porksome with adequately dessicated and crisp edges; the suadera has nicely singed edges yielding to juicy meat and fat; the bistec has the clean flavor of beef and is so perfectly cooked that it's almost boring. Yes, it would be better if it were grilled over live fire instead of seared on the griddle - but really, I'm not complaining. If you're worthy enough to be given a bit of the fresh made tomatillo salsa, you should be grateful. And if you wonder aloud about whether they have roasted chiles and onions, you might find yourself lucky enough to have some prepared for you on the spot.

Needless to say, the two cooks are friendly and accommodating in the tight space. And quite skilled at the art of the antojito. Any doubts you have should vanish when you see the milanesa de pollo - a perfectly deep-fried slab of flesh, crunchy golden brown outside, succulent inside. Too bad it only comes on a torta or a cemita (every respectable meat should come in a taco, I think). The cemita is respectable, authenticated by the use of papalo, emboldened by the chipotles en adobo, assuaged by the stringy quesillo. But isn't it the bread that always lets you down? A bit on the dry side, a tad too thick, taking away the balance from the rest. Alas. Next time, I will ask them to put it in two tacos instead and hope that they oblige.

There are tortas galore - 19 offerings, in addition to 9 cemitas and 13 quesadillas. Sometimes they have al pastor (though not on a spit), and you can even get your oreja on.

Tortas Neza
53-06 Roosevelt Ave
Woodside, Queens
718-205-2121
9am - midnight
Free delivery

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Tortas Neza
53-26 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

  1. w
    Widmark Mar 9, 2011 08:24 AM

    I will check it out. That space has been a revolving door and I wasn't sure if this newest version was different or not.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Widmark
      a
      AubWah Mar 10, 2011 05:19 AM

      Cool. do you know if they have tripa or buche? try the cemita from coatzingo if you haven't already i quite enjoy them

      1. re: AubWah
        Joe MacBu Mar 10, 2011 08:08 AM

        I didn't see tripa or buche listed.

    2. Joe MacBu Mar 10, 2011 08:00 AM

      Photos of the wall menu, a bistec taco and a suadero taco.

       
       
       
       
      1. m
        MarcInSunnysideGardens Mar 13, 2011 09:45 AM

        Thanks for the write-up, Joe. 52nd st is my subway stop and Neza is actually on the same block as the easternmost exit--quite easy for anyone to hit who is on the 7. To be clear, there is a bit of seating here if you must, but it's pretty much a to-go joint.

        I tried a milanesa de pollo torta, with the roasted chiles. Really good texture throughout, clean flavors; I'd get it again. I thought the carnitas in my tacos was a tad dry on first bite, but it got better as it went along. My daughter is enjoying the heck out of her first-ever cemitas, lotsa gooey melted quesillo pleases 5-yr-old junior hounds. They fashioned some egg tacos for my non-meat-eating wife, too.

        They were out of tortillas for quesadillas. Next time.

        First impression: this is a real go-to for the neighborhood. We needed it and now we have it. I know what you're saying about the neighborhood struggling to support a place like this but I think this might be different.

        1. p
          punto Apr 5, 2011 05:21 AM

          Interesting. I'm always on the lookout for lunchtime eating within (extended) walking distance of my workplace in the toxic waste deadzone epicenter of LIC (near the intersection of Thomson, Van Dam and Queens Blvd.). I've found that, in warmer seasons, I can stroll up Skillman to Al Shatr (possibly spelled differently - El Shater?)) for firstrate middle-eastern takeout and then sit in a playground nearby. Tortas Neza looks like maybe 5 or 6 blocks further, so I'll give it a go once the sun comes out.

          -----
          El Shater
          43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

          Tortas Neza
          53-26 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

          15 Replies
          1. re: punto
            m
            MarcInSunnysideGardens Apr 5, 2011 09:02 AM

            El Shater, yes.
            Jump on that 7 train at 33 and you're 3 stops from Neza. And walk it off on the way back!

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            El Shater
            43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

            1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
              d
              donovt Apr 8, 2011 06:30 PM

              I just read that El Shater is closing the end of April.

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              El Shater
              43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

              1. re: donovt
                p
                punto Apr 8, 2011 06:54 PM

                Say ir aint so. What is your source? This will be a major blow to my lunchtime equilibrium, if true.

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                El Shater
                43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                1. re: punto
                  d
                  donovt Apr 9, 2011 10:15 AM

                  www.sunnysidepost.com

                  Don't know if it's true, but I tend to trust their reports.

                  1. re: donovt
                    w
                    Widmark Apr 11, 2011 01:38 PM

                    They have an "everything must go" sign in the window.

                    Really depressing.

                    1. re: Widmark
                      biondanonima Apr 26, 2011 01:18 PM

                      Totally true - we stopped in there this weekend and they told us they were moving to Astoria. Huge bummer - I loved that shop for SO many things!

            2. re: punto
              g
              guide boy Apr 8, 2011 07:59 AM

              @Punto: I fear the deadzone.

              Have you tried New Thomson’s Dominican diner, 32-44 Queens Blvd, Long Island City?

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              New Thompson's Diner
              32-44 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11101

              1. re: guide boy
                p
                punto Apr 8, 2011 12:46 PM

                No, though I have walked by it hundreds of times. I haven't seen anything indicating it' has a Dominican menu, but I see that you refer to it New Thomson's Dominican, so maybe you could forward some recommendations and I'll let you know what I think.

                Thanks,

                Punto

                1. re: punto
                  g
                  guide boy Apr 12, 2011 12:29 PM

                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/new-thompsons...

                  1. re: guide boy
                    p
                    punto Apr 12, 2011 12:45 PM

                    Thanks guide boy. I decided to drop in today and was surprised to find that where I expected a counter to be in a diner was an enormous steam table. Since it was around 2:30 in the afternoon, I had no trouble with service and finding plenty of room to sit. It is indeed quintessentially Dominican as far as the menu goes. I really did not do much in the way of exploring since I have been cutting down on meat (sorry, foodies, I hope that this doesn't totally destroy my credibility) lately, but asked for rice and beans and got a plate covered with yellow rice and a heap of decently seasoned beans @ $5.

                    When I am in a more carnivorous mood, I will check out the pernil, pollo and other Dominican dishes. The sandwiches also looked good on the plates of other customers, too.

                    Seeing as the diner is only a block or so from Thomson Avenue, I am assuming that there is no "p" in the name, but I could be wrong.

                    -----
                    New Thompson's Diner
                    32-44 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11101

              2. re: punto
                johnk Apr 8, 2011 08:54 AM

                If you walk that far go a couple of extra blocks to Mangal Turkish on 47th & QB.
                Great shwarma on homemade pide!!
                Excellent salads/baba etc.
                Regards,
                JK

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                Mangal
                46-20 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                1. re: johnk
                  p
                  punto Apr 8, 2011 12:39 PM

                  Mangal is definitely a go-to place when the weather is fair enough for lunchtime strolling. I love all of their appetizer/salads, the various versions of pide and, it goes without saying, the turkish bread that comes with most anything (especially if you ask for it).

                  -----
                  Mangal
                  46-20 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                2. re: punto
                  2slices Apr 15, 2011 07:16 AM

                  Sounds like we work near each other. Just posted the bad news, El Shater is moving to 28th ave in Astoria.

                  edit: didnt notice the posts regarding the move. I got it straight from the eldest brothers mouth.

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                  El Shater
                  43-02 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                  1. re: 2slices
                    p
                    punto Apr 15, 2011 05:06 PM

                    For the past 15 months, I have been working pretty much where the intersection of Van Dam, Thomson and Queens Blvd rumbles and fumes nonstop. I cannot imagine a more godforsaken (rather, foodforsaken) spot. There are actually 4 or 5 places serving food and a handful of food trucks within a block, but absolutely nothing that rises above the level of the mundane. A food truck serving kimchee tacos in front of LaGuardia CC did get my hopes up briefly, but it really did little to raise the overall level of offerings. Working in what used to be a carpet warehouse, I desperately need to get outside at lunchtime, but it necessitates walking a minimum of 15 minutes to reach the likes of Mangal, De Mole, Curry Point, Natural Tofu etc. One can take the 7 train, Q32, 60 or 39 if they happen to come by, but walking is usually quicker. An hour lunch is not really a practicality under these conditions.

                    -----
                    Mangal
                    46-20 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                    Natural Tofu
                    40-06 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                    De Mole
                    45-02 48th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                    Curry Point
                    41-02 Greenpoint Ave, Queens, NY 11104

                    1. re: punto
                      2slices May 6, 2011 10:36 AM

                      Oh you're in the middle of civilization. I'm between the newtown creek and the south side of the cemetery almost under the Kosciuszko. The only good place a 15 minute walk gets me to is El Tropical 2 at the LIE exit ramp.

                      -----
                      Tropical
                      36-10 Greenpoint Ave, Queens, NY 11101

                3. Jeffsayyes Apr 26, 2011 04:00 PM

                  went this weekend. This place is great! the tortas are monster, and there is one thing that distinguishes this from most places: The bread is soft and fresh! They wrap each in plastic wrap during transport, so I guess that helps.

                  Also had 2 tacos. carnitas and tongue. both were great.

                  best thing though was the chili sauce. seems like toasted chilis. Not too hot, but damn good.

                  pictures were taken with an iphone, so excuse the disclarity. Going back tomorrow for more.
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlick/s...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Jeffsayyes
                    a
                    AubWah May 6, 2011 12:42 PM

                    how much are the tacos, $2?

                    1. re: AubWah
                      Joe MacBu May 6, 2011 05:13 PM

                      Yep, $2.

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