There's been a lot of taco talk in the news these past few weeks, most recently the New York Times's all tacos all the time issue, which included a great think piece from restaurant critic Pete Wells on why fancy restaurant tacos fail more than they succeed. Says Wells of the New York Restaurant Taco, "Talking about the best taco you've ever had in a restaurant is like talking about the best kiss you've ever had in a hospital."
The Times also ran a roundup of classic taquerias and trucks that kick it old school, including some Serious Eats favorites, though it began with a lede that raised eyebrows among New Yorkers and Californians alike: "New York has great tacos, tacos that can go mano a mano with the best of Los Angeles." (Los Angeles disagrees.)
New York vs. California taco debates aside, we've seen a spate of new taco spots open recently, from Daniel Delaney's breakfast and brisket tacos to gussied up al pastor served with mezcal, to casual taquerias opened by homesick Californians.
As Alex Stupak, the one fancy-taco-man given a passing grade in Wells's article, mentioned on Twitter, "So much coverage of tacos and Mexican cuisine lately. So many new Mexican restaurants opening in NYC. I can feel the ground swelling."
At Serious Eats we're certainly excited for any gains in taco momentum, provided they're faithful to upholding the spirit of what the taco's all about: something affordable, unfussy, and mind-bendingly delicious. Frankly we're doubtful that many tacos in the city do their best to champion that spirit—low-quality tortillas and a tendency to overdress fillings obscures what could have been something better. But we're happy to sing our praises of the tacos we do like and champion newcomers when they exceed our expectations.
And now we're opening the floor to you. What do you think is the state of the New York taco? What new developments do you want to see in our taco culture? And most importantly, where do you go for your top tacos? Sound off in the comments.
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