Thursday, October 9, 2008

Taqueria Coatzingo

Priya had access to her parents' car for a few days, and since I had Yom Kippur off from work, we decided to make use of it to get dinner somewhere far, far away. Priya had done some research, and after looking at a couple of menus, we chose Taqueria Coatzingo on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights.

The restaurant's decor was brusque and functional, like a diner or pizza shop, and scattered with 10 or 12 other diners when we entered (two of them, young Latinos drinking beers, were seated on the same side of a four-person table, facing the entrance; they didn't seem gay, and they were more guido-clubby than gangbangy, so we could only assume that they were scoping out girls who entered...ignorant of the fact that their seating posture seemed to indicate that they were a couple). The menu was pretty extensive, and we were absorbed by enough choices to mostly forget about the specials.

Remembering the amazing pork huarache I'd had in Red Hook a couple of years ago, I ordered one of those, topped with "salt beef" (cecina), for $7.50 (50 cents cheaper than the other place we'd looked at. It was pretty good, but the huarache part itself couldn't match the naan-like grilled version from the ballfields. I liked the cecina, and there was a nicely spicy sauce, thuogh a bit too much iceberg piled on top for my taste.

For 2 bucks more, I also ordered a tripe taco (almost got the steamed tongue, but I've had that elsewhere and liked it--I've never had tripe before). We expected the tripe to be slimy and woobly, but it was fried crisp and tasted a lot like bacon (with a few slimy/woobly parts). I liked it a lot, and for 2 bucks? good deal.

Priya, of course, got mole enchiladas, chicken and cheese. The mole was pretty good--very very fruity, not overpoweringly ch9colate--and the beans were nice, too. The rice, unfortunately, seemed to be made with canned green beans and carrots mixed into it.

to drink, I had an horchata (quite good, very sweet, served no-frills in a paper soda cup), and we also enjoyed the very good, spicy salsa that came with the table (although too many of the fresh-fried tortilla chips were inedible due to grease). unfortunately, it was $3 for more chips/salsa, so we didn't get another basket when we were done.

for dessert, we walked into the South Asian section of Jackson Heights and got some sweets at a sweet shop. they turned out to be a lot more expensive than we thought--we'd picked and chosen several individual types, which then caused us to get charged $1 per type instead of by the pound--and I also got a rose lassi, which, weirdly, didn't taste like yogurt at all and also included basil seeds and vermicelli-like noodles. very odd.

overall, it was not expensive (though it wasn't dirt-cheap), and it was very good. I'd go back, although I don't know if it's quite at the level at which I'd recommend that friends travel out there specifically to go.

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