There are at least a dozen tacos trucks that line 5th Avenue in Sunset Park. But none are as fixed as Tacos El Bronco. At night, crowds swarm to the fluorescent light. Couples are huddled against the cold; guys lean up against the opposing wall to wait for their food. There's a bit of a frenzy inside the truck, arms wielding flat spatulas and guys shouting out calls of orders; it's an efficient taco machine.
These cook have it down: the way they pack the bags, cinching the wrappings tight, the cross-hatched grill marks on the Cambray onions, the change always correct. And when it gets really busy, they can really work the crowd.
The truck is a roving offshoot of the brick and mortar restaurant on 4th Avenue, stationed in various places on the west side of Sunset Park. The sweet, fragrant tacos showcase a carousel of different meats: stewed head meat, sweet and sour al pastor, supple braised suadero, chorizo, buche, chewy pig's throat, and tripe, as soft as a whisper. They're covered in a fine julienne of cilantro and a perfect small dice of white onion, and there are three different salsas to add to your liking. The creamy red one, a thick puree of chiles and toasted garlic, is a deluge of fire.
In warmer months, it sometimes feels as if people are here for the crowd. Neighbors pull out foldable chairs and boom boxes; they settle in to eat rounds of tacos, drink paper-bag covered beers, and talk. It's an all-night affair; the truck doesn't start cooking until 8pm and goes until 5am. The menu has nothing but tacos and birria, a soul-warming soup rich with with clove and spice, that's only offered on the weekends. Soft hunks of goat meat, cilantro, and onion float through a broth of magnified meat juices. It's a tiny portion, doled out in the iconic NYC paper Greek coffee cups, to warm your hands on the walk home.
Tacos El Bronco Taco Truck
4302 5th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11220 (map)