There’s lots of bad Tex/Cal Mex food out there. We’ve been trying to figure out why these quasi taquerias do so well, even with sub par food offerings.


a.) you easily confuse food with pig slop;

b.) you just don’t know any better;

c.) you’re very hungry and there’s a taqueria close at hand;

d.) margaritas are more important to you than good food; and,

e.) all of the above, or any combination thereof.

Three exceptional standouts to avoiding a Tex/Mex mishap: DOS TOROS, TORTILLERIA NIXTAMAL & CASCABEL

Here’s what you need to know:

DOS TOROS TAQUERIA, two brothers from San Francisco dissatisfied with NYC taco offerings bring us a topnotch taqueria nearby to Union Square. The tight menu of tacos, burritos and quesadillas are worthy of the wait.

(Warning: unless you’re planning for takeaway they might be a  a bit of a struggle for a table  – come June 2011 they’ll be a new larger joint on Carmine Street in the West Village.)  The great locale means your a stone’s throw away from things to do and see in the East Village, West Village and Union Square. 137 4th Avenue, NYC, (212) 677-7300, www.dostoros.com.$

TORTILLERIA NIXTAMAL, is a Corona Queens import and a prime stop for masa, the corn base dough that’s in any tortilla worth its beans in NYC. It’s also a taqueria offering tasty tacos and tamales in Corona and now at a kiosk in City Hall Park. So, sit down-ah-so close to the Brooklyn Bridge and have a gander at some real grand architecture of the civic center with partaking on some superior Mexican eats. City Hall Park. Outdoor seating. www.tortillerianixtamal.com. $

CASCABEL TAQUERIA, one thing we’re not happy about with this spot is the distant locale. 2nd Avenue and 80th Street doesn’t bode well for a visit unless you live in the area. Even if you’re having a museum or shopping moment over on 5th & Madison Avenues. it’s quite an uneventful hike into this residential no-man’s land that’s a big zero in must-visit NYC neighborhoods. Also, the new space’s feels-like-TGI-Friday’s is a big step down from the kitchen industrial-meets-arty charms of the original. For some reason if you do find yourself nearby swing in for exceptional tacos and sides. 301 East 80th St (at 2nd Ave) www.nyctacos.com.$-$$

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