You know a taco joint is authentic when you’re the only gringo in sight….the surroundings are plain but clean…..and the prices are hovering around $10 per entree for solid standbys as well as for the more exotic dishes. At Tacos Xochimilco in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, tacos are king and truly done to perfection. The main ingredient which cannot fail is meat which they have down pat. It’s noticeably tender, juicy, fresh, nicely browned, and copiously seasoned with cilantro. Each taco is individually hand-wrapped in paper bursting with guacamole, chopped onions, and salsa.
Named after Xochimilco (“Place Where Flowers Grow”), an outlying region in Mexico City famous for its Venetian-style canals, Tacos Xochimilco’s core menu also reflects the southern regions of Puebla and Guerrero, where many of NYC’s Mexicans immigrate. Try the red pozole, a rib-sticking soup is filled with pork and hominy (swollen white dried corn). You get a separate plate heaped with ingredients to toss into your soup like chopped sweet onions, red radishes carved into slivers, fragrant cilantro sprigs, green scallion tops, and wedges of lime. The pambazo sandwich is built with toasted bread drenched in red chile sauce, smeared with mayo and piled high with onions, lettuce, cheese, and cubes of boiled potatoes, making a spicy potato-salad sandwich.
Other simple yet hardy dishes include heaping plates of steak topped by a pair of de-spined, scored, and grilled cactus paddles, rice and beans, as well as chicken quesadillas stuffed with chili peppers and red sauce. Wash it all down with a papaya shake, Jaritos or Mexican coke from one of their slider coolers.
My favorite is the cemita, a round sandwich built on a seeded roll made from cactus pulp and filled with carne enchilada (spicy pork chunks) or cecina (salt-cured beef), both flavored with fiery chipotle chilies and palapa, an herb that has hints of creosote and thyme.
Hop the N train, transfer to the R, and get off at the 45th St. Station. Walk to 4501 5th Ave (between 45th St & 46th St)