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New on Orchard St.: Taqueria Lower East Side

howdini May 16, 2011 04:45 PM

A solid, no-surprises Mexican place in what was Xiao Ye, on Orchard just below Houston. Stopped in for Sunday brunch: good huevos rancheros, very good chilaquiles verdes (finally: a place that makes them the right kind of crispy!), good tacos carnitas (no al pastor :^( ), very good fish (fried tilapia) tacos, all at extremely reasonable prices (think about $1 more than Sunset Park, tops), especially so for the neighborhood. Flautas papas, which I've never had before (I don't think I've ever had flautas without chicken), had just the right amount of salt and were nice and crispy, even on takeout.

This is a branch of NJ place (I think the owner said Jersey City?). All in all, a nice addition to the nabe, different enough from Molé, Puebla, Downtown Bakey and El Maguey y la Tuna not to feel redundant.

Taqueria Lower East Side
198 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

  1. s
    small h Jun 7, 2011 06:05 PM

    Taquerias are sprouting like crabgrass around here. Get to this one before someone realizes they're under-charging. I stopped in tonight for a fish taco ($3) and a michelada ($6). The taco was quite substantial; the fish was fresh and soft and tasted like fish (instead of just like fry). And I liked the spicy salsa on it very much. I think the tortillas - from La Mixteca - are not quite up to Nixtamal's level, but they are very good nonetheless. And since I was also given a bowl of chips and salsa, I ended up with a pretty satisfying meal for less than $10. They seem to be doing a booming business, and it's a very friendly place, despite the somewhat combative language on the menu (no fajitas! also, no fajitas!). The owner's a peach.

    4 Replies
    1. re: small h
      howdini Jun 7, 2011 06:28 PM

      Ha! I forgot to mention the "rules." yeah, those fish tacos are pretty tasty...might order some right now!

      1. re: howdini
        melo7 Jun 8, 2011 09:53 AM

        Grilled or fried fish in the tacos? Please, please, say fried.

        1. re: melo7
          howdini Jun 8, 2011 10:36 AM

          Your fish is my command: it is indeed fried! And mighty tasty: I had it again last night, accompanying a serviceable chicken enchilada.

          1. re: howdini
            melo7 Jun 8, 2011 11:27 AM

            Thanks! I've been looking for a good fried fish taco for quite a while.

    2. a
      AubWah Jun 7, 2011 07:21 PM

      do they have authentic tacos or hipster tacos

      8 Replies
      1. re: AubWah
        howdini Jun 7, 2011 07:36 PM

        Depends on your definition of "hipster taco." ;^)
        But seriously, tacos autenticos.

        1. re: AubWah
          small h Jun 7, 2011 07:57 PM

          The tacos come in carnitas, bistec, pescado, nopalitos, barbacoa, cecina, chorizo, and picadillo. My Spanish is limited, but I don't think any of those words mean "hipster." So no, no hipster tacos.

          1. re: small h
            FoodDabbler Jun 7, 2011 09:39 PM

            No cabeza, cachete, labio, lengua, or ojo? (Had a very good meal once with these five tacos at http://www.lillystacos.com/menu.html .)

            1. re: FoodDabbler
              howdini Jun 7, 2011 09:46 PM

              No, it's not really an adventurous place. Safe, but pretty tasty, and very inexpensive. I hope that they do well.

              1. re: howdini
                FoodDabbler Jun 7, 2011 09:58 PM

                Yes, I hope they do well. A good fish taco is worth its weight in eyes.

              2. re: FoodDabbler
                squid kun Jun 7, 2011 11:50 PM

                Appreciate what you're saying, especially as a native Southern Californian, but find it hard to see how your experience in Santa Barbara can help folks in New York City. Have you checked out Queens?

                1. re: squid kun
                  FoodDabbler Jun 8, 2011 06:11 AM

                  As I was hoping my use of a question mark would indicate, I was *asking* if these heady tacos were available at this new place. An answer in either the positive or the negative, as given by howdini, provides useful information. (My remark about my experience was meant to indicate that these unusual tacos can be very good, and was anyway parenthetical, as my use of parentheses was meant to indicate.)

              3. re: small h
                uwsister Jul 18, 2011 08:53 AM

                small h - LOL! Hipster tacos. I'll be laughing about this all day.

            2. h
              hungrycomposer Aug 11, 2011 10:28 AM

              I finally checked this place out. Good food, very nice owner, and very affordable. The owner's from LA (which explains the Dodgers and Randy's Donuts pictures on the wall) and his wife is from Mexico City. I had the fish, carnitas, and lamb tacos. The fish taco and carnitas taco were both excellent. Lamb was good but a little underspiced for my taste. My BF had the enchiladas, which were good, and I think more DF than LA. My boyfriend was thrilled - he is a Mexican American from LA who is always bemoaning the state of Mexican food in Manhattan. This was comfort food for us, not newfangled or contrived, but very familiar for those of us who lived Los Angeles, one of the regions of Mexican cooking that doesn't get proper respect here in NYC (remember it was Mexico before it was the US, folks.)

              Taqueria Lower East Side
              198 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

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