Dos Toros Taqueria
137 4th Ave (13th & 14th Sts)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 667-7300
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: Union Square
Entree Price: <$10
Standing in front of Dos Toros in sub-freezing temperatures I couldn't help but wonder if it would be worth it. Afterall, this was Mexican fast-food. But here I was with the line out the door. The guy next to me saying, "It's gotta be good, right?" All I could answer was, "Must be."
Finally, we made through that door. The restaurant is tight with cement beams on the ceiling, worn wooden benches and tables, and what looked like old crates for chairs. I don't think I got to see what the floors are made of because the place was packed so tight. But the line moves quickly, and when we finally got up front I could see what all of the excitement is about.
There were pieces of chicken and steak cooking on the grill, folks chopping and dicing vegetables and loading up metal bins full of fresh salsa. Steam was rising as tortillas, one by one, were being heated up with a slice of cheese melted on top. And then there was assembly line up front. The woman who took our order with a smile on her face while tending to the tortillas. The guy who loaded 'em up (and I mean loaded), next to the guy who packed them up.
Burritos, tacos and quesadillas filled to the brim with pork (Carnitas), grilled chicken (Pollo Asado), grilled steak (Carne Asada) or meatless with rice and beans. We tried two types of tacos ($3.67 each). The first loaded with moist, tender pork and a spicy salsa. You know it's good when your first bite is accompanied by a giant Mmmm. Be sure to add a scoop of guacomole ($.46). It's cheap and good. Taco #2 was the Carne Asada filled with tender chunks of steak that tasted like it was fresh off the barbecue.
And that's the big surprise here. Nothing is packaged, just delicious Mexican cooked up fresh, like the oversized quesadilla ($5.97) we tried that could have easily fed two, filled with grilled chicken, cheese and salsa. Burritos are also huge, stuffed with a layer of rice and beans (black or pinto) and topped with your choice of meat. The restaurant also serves up fresh chips in brown paper bags, and beers like Tecate and Corona/Pacifica.
Dos Toros prides itself on using chickens free of hormones and antibiotics, beans that are organically grown, and cups, napkins and bags that are all biodegradable.
As I looked around I couldn't help but notice all of the happy faces around me. And there are plenty reasons to be happy, starting with that first bite!
Review By: Thomas Rafael