The New El Rey Del Sabor is Serving Authentic Mexican Food From a Cart

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

Oh, what a glorious day! A new cart has arrived, and is serving the most authentic Mexican food I have seen in Midtown. Pampano Taqueria… be afraid.  Be very afraid. This place does not serve small, over priced tacos, on a single, fancy pants tortilla.  Their tacos cost $2 (the way it should be) and come on *two* corn tortillas, warmed up properly on the griddle.  The two sombrero carts- you should be afraid as well.  I don’t even think this cart knows what nacho cheese is.  Every item on their menu comes topped with queso blanco- the real deal Mexican cheese. Tamale lady in front of the Mexican Embassy-  you don’t have to worry about anything.  Your tamales are cheap, authentic, and delicious.  Nobody will ever replace you.

But everyone else!  Commence your shivering.  The Mexican food savior we have all been waiting for has finally arrived.  

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

Midtown Lunch has been all about the outskirts this week, and while I normally like to keep things within the boundaries, when it comes to authentic Mexican food, all bets are off.   Located on the SW corner of 60th Street and 3rd Avenue, El Rey del Sabor (the king of delicious!) has been serving up Mexican food to the employees of Bloomingdales for the past month.  Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, tamales, sopes, and even huaraches. For meats, you get your choice of beef (steak, not ground), chicken, chorizo, or spicy pork.  Of course, a good menu is just the first step.  What about the food?  I decided to tread lightly, and just order a spicy pork taco. 

Two small corn tortillas went onto the griddle for a minute before being filled with pork, and topped with onions, cilantro, radishes (nice!), and salsa verde. No lettuce or tomato. No cheese. And certainly no crispy, hard shell.  A taco, the way it was meant to be served.  Oh man.  Let the floodgates open.

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

For my second course, I decided to check out the huarache. Some of you may be familiar with huaraches from the Red Hook ballfields, which are served folded- almost like a gigantic taco.  The Mexican version, in contrast, is served open face- almost like a pizza.  When I ordered I was told “Actually, we make our huaraches fresh, so it may take 5-7 minutes.”  Are you kidding?  It just kept on getting better.

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

The lady half of the duo working the cart, took out the dough and started pressing it into a flat circle.

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

When she was done, it was slapped onto the griddle, and 5-7 minutes later we were in business. 

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

First it was topped with a bean slurry of sorts (not as thick as refried beans, but not as thin as the soup that the beans are cooked in), then came the meat (I opted for chicken) which was cooked on the griddle in salsa verde (you can get red sauce if you prefer.)  On top of that, the guy piled lettuce, tomato, onions, queso blanco, and a squirt of sour cream.  All for 5 bucks.  This can’t be true.

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

I was too full to order anything else, but I did watch him make a quesadilla (which was recommended by the lunch’er who told me about the cart.)

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

Not too shabby.  The sopes are pretty much like tacos with a thicker tortilla, the burrito tortillas they use are enormous (always a good thing), and the bread they use for the tortas looked pretty damn tasty.

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC 

It wasn’t all fun and games though.  The pork was tasty, but a little chewy- and it wasn’t the greatest huarache or taco I’ve ever had in my life.  It was, however, easily the best Mexican food I’ve ever had in Midtown… and the fact that it comes from a cart makes it that much better.  The guy in the cart told me that at night he works as a cook at Los Dados, but don’t hold it against him. There are no coriander encrusted tuna tostadas on this menu. And everything is super cheap.

El Rey Del Sabor, Midtown NYC

I will definitely be heading back to try the empanadas, the tamales, and a burrito. How could I not? My only fear, of course, is that once word gets out about this cart, it will be so popular that it will be too tough for them to do hand made huaraches, and the quality will go down. So I guess we should enjoy it while we can!

THE + (what somebody who likes this place would say)

  • The most authentic Mexican food in Midtown
  • And it’s from a cart!
  • The huaraches and empandas are both made from scartch in the cart
  • There’s no hard shell tacos or nacho cheese (the other two Midtown “taco” carts are disgraceful)
  • The use real Mexican cheese!
  • It’s super cheap! ($2 tacos, and I don’t think anything is over $6.00)

THE – (what somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • The pork was not super tender (I didn’t try the beef, but I’m assuming it’s the same)
  • If you want to get super technical about “authentic,” they don’t have any of the offal you get at real taco shops (tongue, head, etc)
  • The open faced huarache is not really a grab and eat kind of meal.  It’s super messy, and they don’t give you a knife, so it’s probably best to take this one back to your desk
  • Not as good as the ballfields, Tehuitzingo (on 10th Ave. and 48th St.), or some of the best Mexican places in the outer boroughs
  • Once word gets out, it may be tough for the cart to keep up with making alotof the homemade from scratch items (with no line, the huarache took a little over 5 minutes to make)

El Sabor del Rey, SW Corner of 60th St. and 3rd Avenue

56 Comments

  • Blarg! I only get a strict 1 hr and no I’m not by the N/R today.

    Well, I have homemade refried beans, chorizo and salsa at home, I’ll have to wait till then.

  • What are these “best mexican in the outer boroughs” you mention? Wheres are the ballfields?

  • Shhh… it’s a secret. Try to keep ya’ll city folk away.

  • Whats your location mamacita, I’m sure I can give you a speedy route… as for the person trooping it from bowling green… wow… id never considered taking it that far down from grand central but i might have to give it a shot and try a downtown lunch one day maybe.

  • Walked from 46th and Lex. Spicy Pork Enchilladas with green sauce, totally worth it. Black beans, ehhh, but everything else, spot on.

  • I went there at 12:40 using N/R/W and got a Huarache and Taco and they were exactly as Zach described. There was no line when I got there and maybe 2 other people during the 10 minutes I was waiting for my food.

  • What makes me unhappy:

    I am 99% happy with my life. Some people tell me that it is not fair for an elderly guy like me to be so happy when there is so much “unhappiness” in the world.

    Well, to be honest, there ARE a few things that I am not happy with, and which irritate me to no end. Since I was asked, I list them here:

    1. People with no ambition and with no desire to gain a formal education.

    2. Politicians, religious zealots, Republicans, illegal immigrants, communist governments (such as in china, North Korea, etc.).

    3. Italian and chinese “food”.

    4. Big cities (such as New York City), where the HIV rate is 25% higher than in other cities, and where ONE in FOUR people has infectious Herpes!

    5. Eating in restaurants. One risks his or her health eating in restaurants, and we refrain from doing so unless necessitated by travel or business. THEN, we are careful to order something that is less likely to be contaminated by the workers, or by substituted, low quality ingredients. Plus, I have a REAL problem with restaurant owner’s/server’s/chef’s attitudes.

    6. Filthy, imported goods and foods from places like china and mexico. Fortunately, new legislation will make it easier to identify the “country of origin” so as to avoid these dangerous and poisonous products.

    7. Investment bankers, Wall Street cronies, and the corrupt, greedy, bottom-feeding people who work in this field (and we ALL know who they are, don’t we?).

    That pretty well sums up what makes me “unhappy.”

  • I’m at 51st and Lex. That’s close enough for me. Seems to be a real dearth of decent lunch places on this side of town, even more so than midtown west.

  • @DocChuck – have you given any thought to the unsanitary conditions created by having your head firmly planted up your keister? Oh and we all know you’re “sad”

  • Chucky, does Tingtong lift your tits up so you can wash under them?

  • mmmmm. Just grabbed a couple of steak tacos. Perfect.
    They were sold out of pastelitos much to my chagrin, tho!

  • I’ll add that since DocChuck bought me used and did not thoroughly disinfect me prior to his initial “foray”, there is a 100% he is infected with a variety of venereal diseases, which in turn (if such things incubate you) due to non-treatment have led to 100% chance of a severely addled brain.

    And unless he puts on new duct tape soon, there is a 100% chance of the catheter bag (which he only empties once a month whether it needs to be emptied or not) breaking again and causing a huge mess.

  • I’m on 53rd and close to Madison – I’m SO checking these guys out sometime soon. I’ve seen the cart before but wasn’t sure to make of it – now I know.

  • Wow Doc, everything except #2 is what keeps me waking up every morning. Tonight, I will be going be dreaming about their empanadas and how happy I will be when they are in my belly tomorrow.

  • I’ll have to try this out now that BurritoVille is no more.

  • we just went to the cart and the (authentic mexican) chicken tacos were very good. they didn’t know about this post so we printed it and gave it to them – they were very excited when we told them they were famous. they had no idea why they were so busy today!!! they ran out of pico de gallo because they were so busy but we’re looking forward to trying it tomorrow.

  • The food from this pushcart is really good. Thinking about what to eat everyday, keeps me coming back. The food is super delicious and cheap. Their pushcart looks really clean compared to other locals. Overall I wouldn’ even think about trading my $5 dollar huarache to any sit and brunch lunch…Because El Rey Del Sabor is totally worth it!!

  • Does anyone put their reviews of street cart vendors on Yelp? I would love to see more street carts listed there so that others can appreciate them and review them. I started an entry for this place (I submitted a change for the address but it hasn’t taken effect yet so ignore that they have it in the Union Square area). Now you can review it!

  • man the food there is awesome. the only thing that5 has been keeping them from bringing more tpes of meet to thier little buisnees was the lack of custmers buying them but if you guys ask for most likely that they will put it in thier menu

  • Awesome. I work at 55th and Third, so most of the stuff you cover is a bit too far for me.

    Thanks for the heads up.

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