Beef Brisket and Bone Marrow Taco from Kin Shop
Harold Dieterle of Kin Shop didn't just dress up a tortilla in Thai ingredients: he topped flaky, pliant roti with beef brisket and bone marrow. Fried taro root added a little crunch, radish sprouts a fresh crisp, but this "taco" was all about meat, already tender, fatty brisket brought to absurd richness by melty bone marrow. One of the least taco-like, but one of the most memorable.
Tacos Campechanos from Hecho en Dumbo
"Best tortilla" award easily went to Danny Mena at Hecho en Dumbo, whose warm, fresh corn tortilla put most of the others to shame. But the filling was every bit its equal: chopped steak and pork belly chorizo together, chicharron for fatty crunch and an earthy, smoky salsa to finish it all off.
Braised Lamb from Balaboosta
Every time we go to Balaboosta, we find more to love. This time, it was sultry braised lamb leg cut by a lemon-yogurt feta sauce whose sharp tang really made this taco. Stray pomegranate seeds added an occasional burst of sweetness.
Beef Tounge Taco from Nuela
We're suckers for a good lengua taco, and here it was every bit as soft and tender as we'd want, but it only gets better when paired with rich, silky bone marrow. A salsa verde kept it from feeling too heavy. (The corn tortilla was only serviceable, but this tongue was so good we hardly minded.)
Tacos de Cabeza from Toloache
So many delicious meaty bits went into this awesome taco from Julian Medina of Toloache: fall-apart slips of veal cheek, rib eye, chorizo, and awesomely crunchy chicharron. Pickled onions added a nice contrast. Even with all these ingredients, the chorizo stood out, smoky and spicy and flavoring every bite.
Oyster Taco from Riverpark
A fried oyster is a great thing. A really great fried oyster, greaseless and crisp-shelled and soft-middled, is an incredible thing. With green tomato, lime, and pickled onion, this taco from Sisha Ortuzar of Riverpark showcased its main ingredient, just as it should.
Cretan-Spiced Lamb Taco from Kefi
Like Kin Shop's, not on a tortilla, but probably the better for it. Michael Psilakis of Kefi piled a soft, fresh pita with slow-roasted lamb (breast, shank, and shoulder), a generous shower of feta, and yogurt that bound it all together. Here as well, scattered pickles added crunch and bright acidity.
Short Rib Taco from Barbuto
Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto sure can braise short ribs, if this taco was any indication; subtly spicy and fall-apart tender, they made this taco a memorable one. Avocado, cabbage slaw and red onion round it out.
Carnitas Taco from La Esquina
Crowds of margarita-clutching eaters almost kept us from getting to Akhtar Nawab of La Esquina, but we're glad we fought through: the carnitas were just as deliciously fatty and crisped up as we'd want, with lettuce and a rich, earthy huitlacoche puree.
Lamb Neck Taco from Scarpetta
We didn't love the blue corn tortillas used by Scott Conant of Scarpetta, but man, we loved the braised lamb neck hiding inside, with mushrooms adding an extra earthy element that paired beautifully.
Chorizo and Beef Tounge Taco from The National
Okay, it looks a little unappealing when it falls open, but those orange splotches just show you how deliciously oily this spicy chorizo is, paired with beef tongue: two of our favorite meats in one. (Have you noticed our fondness for chorizo and tongue yet?)
Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Taco from Gramercy Tavern
We're big Nancy Olson fans at Serious Eats, so we weren't surprised that the Gramercy Tavern pastry chef's contribution was so tasty: one-bite crunchy tacos with a rich bittersweet chocolate cream, crunchy toasted hazelnuts, and enough salt to enliven the whole thing.