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New on Orchard St.: Taqueria Lower East Side

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.

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

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: howdini

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

        1. re: melo7

          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

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

    2. do they have authentic tacos or hipster tacos

      8 Replies
      1. re: AubWah

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

        1. re: AubWah

          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

            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

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

              1. re: howdini

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

              2. re: FoodDabbler

                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

                  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

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

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. 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.)

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