El Rey Del Sabor is Still Midtown’s Best Mexican Food From a Cart

When I read the other day that El Rey Del Sabor is now offering al pastor, I was all over it. I headed to their new cart on Park Ave and 49th Street (one of three they now operate in Midtown)- and not only did I score an al pastor taco, I also grabbed a spicy pork torta, and a carne asada huarache. This was a cheap excuse to splurge and buy a few menu items that I’ve been meaning to try under the pretext of getting a taco in the name of ML. I know, I just give and give don’t I? It was a ton of food, but luckily I had a friend with me to help out.

Comida pornografia after the jump….

These days al pastor can be prepped a couple of ways it seems. In NYC I’ve noticed they usually top it with pico de gallo (tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, cilantro and lime) that include a sweet component, usually pineapple and sometimes mango. (Even though in California I never really noticed any pineapple in my al pastor.) ERdS’s version is the pineapple kind, but I like a sweet and salty mix so I wasn’t disappointed.

The pork seems to be their usual puerco enchillado and has a deep red color from the chili spiced marinade. They also give you the choice of adding additional green or red salsa. This might make for a bit of a soggy mess if you have a long walk back to your office, but all that juicy meat is contained in a double wrapped tortilla cooked on the same meaty seasoned griddle.

The torta was equally good, and perhaps much better: bread, melted cheese, refried beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos and carrots. I would easily choose this before a burrito with the same filling. I did get two fatty, gristly bits in the pork. But I won’t hold that against them because almost every taqueria I’ve been to has had one instance of the same.

The huarache was next and man do I love huaraches! How could I resist! I liked the carne asada. It was better than I expected and surprisingly tender. Authentic huaraches should have a bean paste center, but these just came with a smear of beans on top instead. (Not a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned.) The cotija cheese, sour cream and red and green salsas were abundant and I can’t complain about that either. The only disclaimer: I know that many foodies here have stuffed their faces with the gluttonous feast that is the Red Hook Ballfield huaraches. Yes they are the gold standard for this street food in NYC, but let’s face it- pigs will fly before we get one of those venders in midtown. The family behind the El Rey carts make all of the food, from the masa, salsas and moles to the meat preparations from scratch. It’s no wonder El Rey del Sabor is the Mexican food darling of ML, the food is cooked with care and stands above many other midtown carts.

Freshly made pastelitos

El Rey del Sabor (3 Locations)

  • 49th and Park
  • 43rd btw. 5+6th
  • 60th and 3rd

Tongue Tacos Are My New El Rey Del Sabor Fave (But the Vegetarian Quesadilla is Good Too)
El Rey Del Sabor Round Two: Mole, Tamales, and a Spicy New Creation You Won’t Want to Miss
The New El Rey Del Sabor is Serving Authentic Mexican Food From a Cart


  • Grizzly bits? They serve BEAR??!?!?!?!?!

  • The pastelillos are so tasty. I can never resist getting one to eat on the way back.

  • I absolutely love this cart. However, their rice and beans are awful. I am so disappoint. :(

  • I just ran out and got an al pastor burrito from the cart on 43rd and 6th. It was pretty awesome. I will never be able to go back to Chipotle or Qdoba.

  • Just went to 49th and Park for spicy pork enchiladas with green sauce. Man, these guys really remind me of home. Thank goodness for them.

  • I didn’t realize California was the authority on al pastor tacos.

  • that torta description has inspired me to set aside my go-to chorizo tacos. diversification of order is imminent (robot voice).

  • PLEASE! Do NOT say “Grizzly bits? They serve BEAR??!?!?!?!?!”

    Otherwise, you will have a certain ‘person’, and I use that term lightly, jumping all over your buttocks.

    She is VERY sensitive about her ‘bear meat.’

  • Trust me, bear meat tastes just like beef.

  • I’ve had the chalupas a couple times. I thought that they were just really spicy and otherwise no real flavor. Are the other items much better? (this is the 43rd and 6th location)

  • Lou, if the 43rd cart is anything like the Park Ave one you can create, with add ons, something for your taste -as long as it’s not rush hour and they are not dealing with lines. I’ve tried the Mole Colorado. That on top of cheese or steak enchiladas or a huarache (Make sure you ask for cotija cheese on top!! plus it you like it sour cream) might work better for you then the spicy pork. Some fresh pastelitos with a side of guac or salsa would also be good. Zach seemed to like the mexican cheesesteak, if you try that let me know :-D

  • I learned to eat tacos al pastor in Cuernavaca and Mexico City, and there they slice the meat off the rotisserie and give you one little slice of pineapple.

    If it’s not sliced of the rotisserie, it’s usually called adobada, but I notice that adobada is often passed off for al pastor.

    Tacos al pastor is the Mexican adaptation of shawarma, brought to Mexico by Lebanese and other middle eastern immigrants. The difference is that it’s pork (instead of lamb) and a pineapple at the top of the rotisserie (instead of an onion).

    And now I’m hungry.

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    And what does any of this have over PizzaCone?
    (just kidding)

  • I had their chorizo burrito a few weeks ago, and it was great. Review here: http://tinyurl.com/chorizo-burrito.
    Have to check out their al pastor, tortas and huaraches.

  • I have never been and was thinking about going since it appears there is one closer to work now. What are the prices like?

  • Pretty cheap superboy, tacos are $2.50, tortas $6, burritos & huaraches $7, pastelillos are a steal at $1.50!

  • Sopes are 7 bucks as well, and you get 2. Are they similar to huaraches? I usually don’t deviate from my 2 taco standard order (especially now that they started serving al pastor), but the one time I tried to order huaraches, the guy convinced me to get sopes instead so I went with it.

  • It’s made with the same masa (corn meal dough), so yeah it’s the same thing the only difference is the size. I think because of the growing popularity of the El Rey carts they are precooking some of the dough so maybe they just ran out of cooked huaraches so they offered you sopes which is the same idea.

  • Mama, Wyane told me to tell you size isn’t everything.

  • Size is to Americans what Dental Hygiene is to Britons….

    Oh so important but in most cases sadly lacking

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