One girl, 12 tacos: A 12-taco tour of Sunset Park

Matomoros tacos. Photo by Vallen Leigh

Tacos Matamoros. Photo by Vallen Leigh

Que onda guero!  You ready to talk tacos? It appears that you’re already well-versed in the finest tacos of Bushwick, but everyone will eventually be priced out of north Brooklyn and end up in Sunset Park. It’s cool though, because Sunset Park is pretty awesome. It’s filled with tacos and tortas and tres leches and one of the coolest little parks in the city (dumplings too, but that’s another story). Being from Southern California, I have eaten many, many tacos. So for educational purposes, I went down to Sunset Park’s taco town to judge all the tacos against one another. Twelve tacos enter, one (eh, two) win!

Tacos 1-3 (above): Tacos Matamoros
4508 5th Ave,
(718) 871-7627

Wow, what is with the onion situation here? Way too many onions. And I like onions. I had the chorizo, suadero (brisket) and carnitas tacos. The chorizo was super smoky, which is good if you’re into that sorta thing, but me and my taco partner noted that it would be great with a little egg. The suadero was pretty good, although not stellar, as was the carnitas. The good news is they have a lot of tables, take credit cards and had what looked like a really great sangria.

Accoutrements: Radish, lime, hot sauce. They had one of the best verde sauces out of the lot. Packed with cilantro.
Table count: A lot!
Taco time: 5 minutes
Total cost: $4.50

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Tacos El Bronco

Tacos El Bronco

Tacos 4-6:  Tacos El Bronco 
4324 43rd St/ Truck at 37th St and 5th Ave
(718) 788-2229

Tacos El Bronco basically owns the taco game in my hood. When they moved their taco truck from the park to my block, my life changed and I now live in a constant taco overdose danger zone. In fact, even after eating all the tacos, I could STILL go back to El Bronco for more. I had the carne asada, pollo and pastor. Normally, I’m not one for the savory pineapple in most pastor tacos, and usually opt for carnitas instead. But their pastor is carved right off the giant meat stick and is out of this world. The spice blend on the carne asada is banging and both the steak and chicken are so tender, you barely have to chew the damn thing. GIMME MORE.

Accoutrements: Radish, lime, cucumber and grilled spring onion (YES!). The verde has a hint of avocado that really kicks up the chicken.
Table count: Restaurant- Many! Taco Truck- none.
Taco time: 6 minutes
Total cost: $4.50

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Photo by Vallen Leigh

Photo by Vallen Leigh

Tacos 7-9:  Puebla Mini Mart
3908 5th Ave
(718) 435-3326

After Tacos Nuevo Mexico was closed, I decided to stop into my torta spot to try their tacos. While their tortas are insanely packed with everything amazing, the tacos were inedible.  The carnitas was so tough, I didn’t even know how to eat it.  Not only that, but they are more than $1 more per taco. I ordered the bistec, carnitas and pollo and never again will I stray from my beloved De La Casa torta…although at this point, I’m not sure I trust it.

Accoutrements: Radish, lime, cucumber, hot sauce, delicious teeny tiny grilled scallions
Table count: 7
Taco time: 6 minutes
Total cost: $8

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Tacos El Maguey

Tacos El Maguey

Tacos 10-12:  Tacos El Maguey
4910 4th Ave,
(718) 768-2846

Tacos El Maguey is a fucking ghost. There is no online menu to speak of, and barely any online presence at all. In a move I haven’t done since the 90s, I had to actually go there to order my first time. It was worth it, because this place makes the best burritos this side of the East River (I’ve been eating a burrito a week for over a year). I had the carnitas, enchilada and carne asada. While the carne asada is usually amazing in the burritos, it was a bit too dry for the tacos. However, their carnitas is so good, it should be criminal, and the taco was no different. I liked the enchilada, which basically tasted like an enchilada, so I’d probably skip it next time for three carnitas tacos. ALL CARNITAS ALL DAY.

Accoutrements: Lime, radish, hot sauce.
Table count: 5
Taco time: 6 minutes
Total cost: $3.75

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Overall, the carnitas taco of El Maguey and El Bronco’s carne asada taco (but really, all El Bronco tacos) were my favorite.  Plus El Maguey gets an extra point for being the cheapest at $1.25 each. I’m going to wash this down with like, two liters of Toranja Jarritos and see y’all after a major nap.

7 Comment

  • also, ricos tacos! mad bonus points for the outdoor seating, also the al pastor don’t have pineapples in them and they shred. VIVA SSP!

  • Totally missed the mark on Matamoros. A few important points to add:

    First: You’ve gotta try the Carne Enchilada taco – it’s their best.

    Second: BYOB! Not sure what the sangria you thought you saw was, but I’m pretty confident they do not serve alchohol. Bring a six pack of modelo from the corner bodega and they will often give you a glass with limes and a salted rim.

  • I’ve had the chance to try a lot of the taco places in Sunset Park with my family- wife and kids. While the atmosphere is authentic, the food is usually been mixed quality and I’ve had had a few major disasters with my kids- my daughter throwing up one time and another time my son stepping in a mud sinkhole in the street. I wish there really was a place that was evidently better in Sunset Park. For my money, I think Caleixo in Colombia Street Waterfront is consistently better.