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New Mexico Place Taqueria Restaurant

Brooklyn NY (Bushwick)

189 graham ave (@ scholes st), brooklyn NY 11226

New Mexico Place Restaurant (

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Rating: 93
Price: $$

Following a recent band practice, my business associates Ben, Sarah S, and Jessie joined me for a few tacos out in Bushwick. Though I bike by Tortilleria Chinantla on the way to our practice space, I had shamefully neglected the Mexican food available nearby. It looks like much of the most delicious food is concentrated on Graham Ave, and New Mexico Place was where we chose to start. It was certainly an auspicious beginning, as by the end of the meal New Mexico Place ended up challenging Tortilleria Nixtamal for the title of 'Best Tacos in NYC'.

The menu itself is rather confusing from a taco perspective. Tacos are cross-listed in three distinct locations: there's the soft taco for $2.50 (meat + cilantro, onions, tomato, lettuce, and crema), the Taco Nuevo Mexico for $3 (meat + cilantro, onions, tomato, lettuce, and crema - apparently the tortilla is different?), and the Alambres Aztecas Deluxe Taco for $3 (steak, chorizo, onion, tomato, mozzarella, and lettuce). The Alambres Aztecas looks like a real winner,but unfortunately they couldn't make it when we were there (out of one of the essential ingredients, though they didn't say which), so we were forced to try the standard tacos. Two members of our party got the $2.50 soft taco (myself included) and two members for the $3 Taco Nuevo Mexico, and we couldn't discern a difference, so I'd advise saving your 50 cents to spend on a couple RC Colas next time you're at Albertson's. I ordered a pair of tacos, one cecina (salted beef) and one enchilada (spicy pork), along with a frijol (bean) gordita.

Post-ordering, our waitress brought us out a biggie-sized bowl of salsa and a basket of chips. It was a pico de gallo-influenced mix of tomatos, onions, green onion, cilantro, and spices and let the record show that it was absolutely delicious. Perhaps the best chips-and-salsa combination I've had in all my years. The ingredients were obviously all very fresh - with every bite, my tongue considered each flavor individually and then appreciated the whole. It was flavorful with just the right level of spice. With such a good omen we eagerly awaited our meals.

The tacos came out very quickly, accompanied by two more salsas. Both had a medium-high level of spice. The green option was flavorful with a bit of an after-tang ( original term!). The red option was smoky and could have used a lot more tomato flavor for my tastes, though my business associate Ben enjoyed it. As I mentioned, there was no apparent different between the soft taco and the Taco Nuevo Mexico - all the tacos were larger than I've come to expect from a NY taqueria and stuffed with fillings then drizzled with crema. The tortillas were delicious and sturdy, and the tacos as a whole really stood out (all my complaints are just nitpicks). For me, first up was the enchilada, doused with ample lime. The meat was nice and flavorful, though perhaps a bit crispy around the edges. As a whole, though, the entire taco was a nearly perfect balance of flavor, with the zesty meat and salsa offset by the gentler lime and crema. Next up was the cecina. It was delicious (as is all cecina) but slightly oversalted, and the fat content of the meat was a bit high. Even with a dash of lime and the smoky red salsa, the salty flavor was still slightly overpowering, though it was definitely a delicious taco.

New Mexico Place was also my introduction to the world of gorditas. My frijol gordita was delicious, with some well-flavored refried beans spread with crema and lettuce between a bun of fried-dough. This seems like the sort of thing I would like to eat for lunch while doing some geology in the American Southwest. It's got the stability to stand up to a rough truck ride off-road, the heartiness to power a day of hard work, and the deliciousness to be looked forward to all morning!!

All the while we were eating, the jukebox was blasting epic latino pop music. The songs ran the gamut, from ballads to dancier numbers, but we all noticed that they could easily fit in to the Hot 97.1 repertoire - indeed, one track had a particular resemblance to 'All of the Lights', and it made me wish that I was the master of the mash-up (rather than simply the remix king). If any expert DJs are out there, I feel like there would be a huge market for combining mariachi-influenced pop (or maybe even ranchero tunes) with R&B tracks. Let me know when you have some prototypes ready!

Overall, New Mexico Place Restaurant is a great place to eat delicious food, and ranks among the best tacos I've had in New York. They fall slightly behind Tortilleria Nixtamal in the preparation of meats (cecina a bit salty, enchilada a bit crispy) but in all other respects it's neck and neck. New Mexico Place also serves bigger tacos and is much more convenient to get to (from where I live and hang out) so it's much more likely to get weekly return trips.

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