[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

When I was growing up in Forest Hills, the closest you could get to Mexican food was the Chinese-run taco joint, a Tex-Mex greasy spoon, or a dive bar with nachos. Nothing against the Chinese-Mexican place, but this options didn't do much to satisfy, especially with Jackson Heights just one subway stop away.

But when El Changarro taco cart set up near the subway station a couple years ago, the neighborhood's Mexican game changed. A recent visit confirmed it: this little cart serves the best Mexican cooking you'll find in Forest Hills.

The menu is standard taco cart: pick your protein, then your delivery vehicle. There are common meats, like pork al pastor and beef, as well as off cuts like tongue, ears, and pork skin. Likewise, you'll find standard tacos, tortas, and quesadillas, but also gorditas, more of a rare sight, if you ask.

Pictured above is a Carnitas Cemita ($8), a more-than-solid rendition of juicy, well-crisped carnitas, black beans, white cheese, smoky chipotle sauce, and hunks of ripe avocado on a soft, seeded bun. It offers little in the way of surprises, but it doesn't need to—it's messy, spicy, and full-throttle meaty as a cemita should be, with fresh ingredients that are commendable on their own but add up to more than the sum of their parts. Eating in Forest Hills just gets better and better.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the New York editor and ice cream maker in residence at Serious Eats. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

El Changarro Taco Cart

El Changarro Taco Cart

  • Forest Hills/Kew Gardens

Continental Avenue at Austin Street Forest Hills NY 11375

Read more
a Foursquare-powered location - View

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: