El Rey Del Sabor Round Two: Mole, Tamales, and a Spicy New Creation You Won’t Want to Miss

My first trip to El Rey Del Sabor, the Mexican cart on 60th and 3rd Avenue, consisted of a taco and a huarache.  It was enough to know that this place was the real deal, and I posted immediately about the new-found gem.  But that lunch was not nearly enough to satisfy my own personal desire to eat everything on their menu. I mean, the food I had was good… but what about their tamales?  Or the fried empanadas?  Oh, and most importantly the mole.  I love mole poblano (the thick, dark, spicy, chocolaty sauce) and this cart serves up a version made from scratch by the owner’s sister.  How could I not?

Enchilades topped with mole, tamales, and a new off the menu creation that is pretty crazy- after the jump… 

Enchilades with Mole Poblano

Mole was what I was there for, and mole is what I got.  Three enchilades, filled with your choice of meat, and topped with their very excellent mole poblano.  It could have been a tad spicier (if you like things spicy) but all in all it was pretty delicious… and clearly homemade.  You can also get your enchilades topped with green sauce (salsa verde) instead, or have mole put on top of any of the other things on the menu.  It’s normally offered only as a topping on the enchilades, but the guy will pretty much do whatever you ask.  A chicken mole burrito?  Yes please! (That’s the first thing that popped into my head… but it will have to wait for the next trip.)

Chicken Tamale with Salsa Verde

I also had missed out on the tamales on the first visit.  As much as I love the tamale lady in front of the Mexican Embassy, her tamales don’t really compare to these.  Topped with sour cream and salsa verde, the chicken tamale was pretty awesome.  Not dry at all, and it had a good amount of chicken; the only complaint I had was the fancy restaurant style squirting of the sour cream.  I’m here to eat Mexican food from a cart… don’t waste your time getting all fancy.

Fried Empanada

Not a great photo, but I tried one of the fried empanadas too.  I think a lot of what is great about this cart can be summed up in the empanadas. One bite is all you need to tell that they are homemade and completely fresh.  It’s a really nice change of pace from the frozen, processed empanadas and beef patties that are on every cart in Midtown. 

Finally I asked him if there was anything new since I had been there last… maybe something not on the printed menu, that I could try.  And that’s when shit got all crazy. 

Mexican Cheesesteak!

I watched him take salted beef (which is on the menu), and sautee it with onions, peppers, white cheese, and habaneros… into a Mexican Cheesesteak!!!  Ok, so it’s not authentic “Mexican” food, but it’s hard to argue against. Spicy, cheesy, salty, beefy.  What could be bad about that?  And, I’m guessing if you wanted it spicier, he’d be happy to throw in some extra habanero.  He served it to me as a make-your-own-taco kind of platter, but I suggested that it would make a great torta or burrito.  Not sure if he’s made a sign for this “Mexican Cheesesteak” creation, but if not, you can just ask for it. He’ll know what you’re talking about… and probably would have no problem making it into tacos, tortas, a burrito, or as the platter I was given.

Finally, I don’t have a photo, but I also tried the barbacoa (lamb) which is a meat option not listed on the menu. If you like lamb, it’s pretty spectacular.  Tender, moist, and nice and gamey- it’s a great option if you’re tired of the same old, same old. (And you love lamb.)  Available as the meat in any of the items on the menu.

If I had any doubts about this cart’s greatness after the first post, they have all been put to rest. Fresh, homemade, authentic, delicious, cheap, and one of a kind (in Midtown anyway.) It’s Midtown Lunch perfection. And, after sampling 7 of their dishes, there is still more I want to try. (Mole burrito anybody?) It doesn’t get much better than that…

El Rey Del Sabor, SW corner of 60th Street and 3rd Avenue


  • how’s the line nowadays?

  • I’m pretty sure barbacoa is goat. Still good, though.

  • zach, can you give more details about the empanada fillings please?

  • @lc – it was about 5 deep on Thursday, but I won’t guarantee anything

    @anon – I had the chicken empanada, and it was good and flavorful. The meat to shell ratio may not be amazing, but the shell is so good and fresh that it’s forgiveable.

    @mosurock – I think barbacoa can be goat, pork, lamb, or mutton- but I’m pretty sure he told me his was lamb… (I wouldn’t bet my life on it, though.)

  • I just got hungry for Mexican. This looks amazing and I sense a vendy in their future if they are as good as you say!

  • I just went today and there were 3 people ahead of me. I had the beef empanada, and like Zach said, light on the filling but the crust has heavy on awesomeness.

    I was also glad to find my tamale was free of topping. Am I alone on this, or does anyone else hate getting sauce on their tamale?

    It was good, but $10 is a little steep for my fat man’s combo:

    Mole Enchilladas $7
    Tamale $1.50
    Empanada $1.50

  • hmm yum!!!

    i’m not a fan of sauce on tamale, so I’ll probably ask for it topping free like tom did.

  • Awesome review. This proves that Zach is king of all foodbloggers. And now I am lusting for Mexicart food, covered in mole (which I never crave!).

  • the dish that he made with the salted beef onions green ppers and cheese is actualy atraditional mexican dish called (alambres) i tied it when i was down in mexico realy delicious cant wait till i try it off of the cart

  • GOD mole burritos are delicious. haven’t had a decent one since leaving los angeles, so i will have to stop by soon…

  • Brilliant!…..how do they do so much from that tiny cart?

    Also..the girl from’lost 35lbs ad’…is well shaggable

  • Zach – Went down today for some Mole Enchiladas… good shit… sauce isn’t as spicy as it could be, I agree… On another note, these folks seem genuinely flattered that someone (you) thinks so highly of them to write on a website. The guy was astounded at how popular the mole was. Someone needs to show these people one of these posts or something to post up on their cart to exhibit their awesomeness. Great cart, great people serving it… and decently priced.

  • Do they have the tongue taco yet?

  • Sooner or later, they have to move to midtown proper. I think 49th btw 6th and 7th avenue would be a great spot. There is a lot of free sidewalk around that bad bulgogi cart.

  • Tom – stop hogging the vendors. They should come to 41st and Madison ASAP.

  • I’m down for 41st and Madison; it is still closer then 60th and Lex.

  • I eat here 2x per week. Zach is 100% on. Api’s suggestion, which I haven’t seen mentioned, is the sauce they put on the quesdillas. It is pink and tastes like mayonaise and chipotle. I don’t know what it is besides simply amazing. Also, I am real addicted to the huraches which always has a great surprise. Sometimes the salad they put on top is just lettuce etc. Sometimes it is like a pico de gallo and sometimes… sometimes… it is this awesome radish mixture that is amazing.

  • Thanks for this gem. I went there from 38th & 6th since it is really hard to get good mexican around here (aside from Las Poblanitas
    ). When I asked him to put mole on the enchilada, he asked me where I heard about it. I started stammering about “midtown.. lun” and he finished my sentence and knew what I was talking about. He promised if business is good and opens up another truck, then he’ll put one further down near my neck of the woods :)

  • NO MOVING! This cart stays right where it is. The rest of you have too many carts already.

    About:\ the mole enchiladas: it’s always been on the menu, but for some reason only on the Spanish portion. When my friend had the mole one before, I’m pretty sure they asked HIM if he wanted verde, rojo or mole…surprised they now question how people would know about it.

    I have tried the tamales twice and been underwhelmed. Interesting to know that these are actually better than the ones raved about by the embassy, but I’d rather save my tamale stomach for Sunset Park. Although it looks like they might be doing something different here…I’ve never gotten one on a plate/box, it’s just stuffed into a paper bag and thrown in with the rest of my stuff…never had to ask them NOT to add toppings, no toppings is the default.

    The fried empanadas ARE good, and I have seen them stuffing new ones while waiting in line. But I wish they could find a way to offer baked empanadas, even though they’d be hard to keep warm. You can easily make fried ones at home with those frozen Goya discs, but those discs turn into cardboard when baked.

    My current favorites are the tortas and sopes, but I definitely like alambres. Might have to try it in torta form, if that’s possible!

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