There is nothing more exciting than uncovering a hidden gem, especially a local one. About two years ago I was giving some restaurant recommendations to a coworker who also lives in the Bronx, some of the usual spots deep on East Tremont and Arthur Avenue. She turned around and asked me if I liked Mexican food that I should try this spot, Taqueria Tlaxcalli. She described it as a hole in the wall that had the freshest and most delicious Mexican food she has ever had. Well I love trying something new and more importantly I love delicious food so I get it a shot. From the outside she was right, it’s a bit of a dump in a very diverse neighborhood, she was even more right when it came to the food. That was two years ago and I have been a loyal customer ever since.
Taqueria Tlaxcalli is located on the fringes of the Parkchester area of the Bronx, just off the corner of Starling and Olmstead Avenues. As I mentioned above, the place looks like a run of the mill take out place from the outside. It’s a big glass storefront that matches the stores adjacent to it, heck even the awning color matches that of the barbershop right adjacent to it. Step inside and it’s a cozy eatery with a number of tables, a takeout counter, and the grill/stove combo in which the two cooks prepare the food in plain site. It can get a little tight during the prime dinner hours as the space isn’t huge.
The menu is substantial for such a small place. All of the traditional dishes that you would expect at a Mexican joint are represented here, fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, you name it and they have it. Soups, salads, larger entrees, kids meals, desserts etc. are available. You get the idea, it’s a big time menu, not for the indecisive among us. This time around I went with an order of their superb guacamole (non-spicy), a soft steak taco with all of the trimmings and a spicy pork burrito.
The waitress set me up with some freshly made chips and a red somewhat spicy dipping sauce, but I chose to largely ignore it in favor of waiting for the guacamole. Once the guac came out in it’s perched up lava bowl, I went to town. The guacamole itself is very good but can be hit or miss as far as freshly prepared. If the taqueria has been busy you stand a good chance of getting totally fresh and brand new guacamole. If not you could get a batch out of the fridge under the counter. Not a huge knock since it won’t have been in there for a long time but an observation.
Shortly after my taco and burrito came to the feeding frenzy. The taco is two soft tortillas with your choice of meet (I chose steak as I said), lettuce, tomato, onions, cilantro and a bit of cheese if you ask for it loaded. I recommend asking for the home made sauces. You get a nice little try with four jars of sauce, each one spicy in it’s own right. The burrito is the main event. The thing is a beautiful behemoth of flavor wrapped neatly into a soft flour tortilla. Like a normal burrito it’s the chosen meat (spicy pork) with rice, beans, cheese, and sour cream. I slathered some of my left over guac onto the monster and proceeded to cut it open. What really draws me to Taqueria Tlaxcalli is how amazingly fresh and flavorful all of the food is. You can taste that fresh fruit and veggies, the rice is spot on, the meat is nice and well flavored. If your idea of good Mexican food is a burrito bowl at Chipotle or Dos Toros, TT will blow you away.
As I mentioned to start the review, I’ve been a regular customer for 2 years thanks not only to the exceptional food but the service too. From what I can tell, the restaurant is run by a husband and wife team though I have never really seen them at the restaurant at the same time. They man the register while their cooks go to town on the visible grill and their waitresses attend to the dine-in customers. All of the staff is very friendly and it adds to a great atmosphere.
I’m going to be very clear and direct with this: Taqueria Tlaxcalli is a must. The food is fantastic and cheap, the restaurant is nice and comfortable, the only thing that sucks is the parking situation. You have to go and try it. It’s the best Mexican food I’ve ever had in NYC, it keeps bringing me back!
Taqueria Tlaxcalli Review reviewed by Well Fed on December 8, 2014 rated 5.0 of 5