Mexicue Packs a Ton of Flavor Into a (Very) Small Package

Mexicue Menu

We have long dreamed of the day that New York would get their very own KOGI Truck, the infamous Los Angeles based Korean taco vendors that teased us back in June of last year, before pulling the rug out from under us just a month later. Kogi has spawned a host of fusion taco imitators on the West Coast… to the point where it seems like every new truck that hits the street in L.A. has at least some kind of taco option- regardless of what kind of food it is.  Here in NYC, we’re not so lucky…  until now that is!  Enter the Mexicue truck, a scrappy new entrant in the street food scene which, through savvy marketing, has amassed significant buzz. We’ve watched with growing curiosity for the past week as the Mexicue crew zealously tweeted their location and wares to over 650 followers.

Expectations in check, I decided to check it out for myself.

Mexicue’s menu of gourmet Mexican and US Southern tacos and sliders is certainly ambitious, at least for a truck. Raising the culinary stakes of the humble street taco or a BBQ pit is hardly a new concept; Rick Bayless, Aaron Sanchez, et al have elevated street tacos to nouvelle cuisine for years, and a legion of acclaimed chefs have churned out haute BBQ – Bobby Flay, Will Goldfarb, even Danny Meyer with Blue Smoke. However, cooking at this level in a cramped truck presents a different set of operational challenges.

These challenges were evident in the growing line of hungry patrons – by 12:15 on Thursday, the truck was in the weeds with a queue 40 deep. Closer inspection of the service revealed minor rookie mistakes-a disorganized kitchen, inexperienced staff, and a lack of ready mise en place– all amendable flaws after a few months of practice. (Especially since they have acknowledged the problems exist.)

BBQ Brisket & Pulled Pork Sliders @ Mexicue

Service issues aside, the food should hold your interest by conveying bold, balanced, yet unconventional flavors. A ‘Mexicana rubbed’ pulled pork slider ($3) would offend the delicate sensibilities of Carolina pulled pork purists. In lieu of the tartness of vinegar (sorry NC) or the tang of mustard (SC shudders), Mexicue’s version was slathered in a spicy BBQ sauce, accented by crisp pickled onions and tempered by creamy avocado. I find that casting aside food idealism makes for the best sauce when enjoying this type of food.

Tacos constructed with a single layer of white wheat tortilla may alienate those accustomed to the traditional double wrapped corn tortilla taco, and the obligatory chopped cilantro and onions was noticeably absent. However, an unorthodox short rib taco ($4), dressed in a light salsa and avocado crema, hit familiar and pleasing notes.

Beet, chorizo, and short rib tacos @ Mexicue

A take on the classic beet and goat cheese salad, long a mainstay of restaurant menus, makes an appearance inside a humble taco ($3). This classic balance of flavors, sweet and tangy from the pickled beets and earthy flavor from the goat cheese, is a satisfying vegetarian option.

Chorizo nomz @ Mexicue

I questioned the chorizo taco ($4), where the heavy and robust goat cheese also makes an appearance- instead of the obvious choice of a delicate queso fresco to allay the peppery chorizo. The combination of fiery and fatty chorizo and cloying cheese is simply an overly ambitious bite of food.

On the other hand, the BBQ brisket slider ($4) was nothing short of outstanding; melt-in-your-mouth tender beef glossed with a perfectly piquant sauce.

Mexicue, like the other upscale mobile vendors, is not without their share of controversy. Long lines, unpredictable availability of product, and somewhat exorbitant prices given the portion size , are par for the course within Mexicue’s peer group.

In their defense, the food does pack flavor and intrigue in an admittedly petite package. Service and operations is likely to improve – it almost always does with vendors of this caliber. And while they may put off the purists, they simultaneously please the rest of the crowd. A fair trade-off in my opinion.

The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • It’s like getting the Daisy May BBQ and El Rey de Sabor carts in one convenient package. Win win!
  • I only eat Mexican food that looks like a Rick Bayless wet dream/I only eat BBQ that looks like a Bobby Flay wet dream.
  • The tacos and sliders are meaty and hearty, and my vegetarian co-workers won’t be disappointed either (beet taco FTW!)

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • $10 worth of tacos and sliders from this place won’t fill me up.
  • Look at that line? Yikes!
  • Wheat tortillas on my taco? ¡Ay carumba!

Mexicue, Follow them on Twitter (or the ML Twitter Tracker) for their location.

Photos and Post by Chris H.


  • damn. that’s making me hungry.

  • Zach is in NY again?

  • … ton of flavor in a very small package…

    Has Rudy been putting butter on his John Thomas again?

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    Great writeup. Welcome to ML, Chris H.

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    Those “crisp pickled onions” look like purple cabbage to me, no?

    • The purple cabbage made an appearance on the chorizo taco and brisket sliders. The pickled onions were on the pulled pork slider. :)

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    Ah, I see.
    I’ll take both. :)

  • Grats on your first writeup, Chris. I’m waiting for the weather to not be so hot to try Mexicue out.

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    Food is decent and you don’t get a whole lot for your $; the worst of it, though, is the line. These guys are so slow they make the Calexico dudes look like they are on Iron Chef. It honestly looked like they had never made a sandwich or taco in their lives. This is what I imagine their job interview process to be like:

    Mexicue: How long does it take you to make a PB&J sandwich?
    Applicant: Oh I don’t know, probably 20 minutes, i’m not very good with my hands.
    Mexicue: You’re hired!!

    There were also four hipster guys standing around watching and joking but not helping – they were somehow involved in the enterprise as they kept going in and out of the truck. The only possible explanation is that this is a big joke to see what NY foodies will put up with. Extremely irritating experience in all.

    • those 4 guys you saw would love nothing more than to be able to hop in their truck and help speed things up…however they’re waiting for their vending licenses to come through…it’s a $3k fine and suspension if they get busted by DOH.

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      tadallagash: I’m sorry you had such a bad experience at the Mexicue truck today. As for our hiring process, we looked for people who are extremely hard workers and love food and that’s what we feel we have. The guys in the truck are working like mad, but we’ve only been open for a week and we’re already getting slammed, so it’s been tough to keep up.

      WinedandDined’s comment below is spot on — the guys in the truck are the only ones with permits at this point. We should have permits from the city in the next week or two for several other workers, which should help smooth the work flow and cut down on customer wait times.

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        Appreciate yall replying, that sucks about the permits. Our gov’t at work. The food was solid, hope yall get the line issue sorted.

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        While I agree the wait for permits is annoying and I’m the first one in a hole in the wall restaurant that looks downright disgusting, but permits for food handling is something I can deal with. They make sense to enforce and gives everyone an even playing field…

  • The photos look almost edible.

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    I went to Mexicue when it was downtown last week and published a neghative review of the food on my blog… Mexicue owner actually commented and actually agreed with some of my criticisms. They seemed to appreciate my contructive criticim and sounds like they have gone on since then to make the food better I look forward to trying it again.

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    I arrived on the line at 12pm and didn’t get my food until 12:45. I know if I had left the office 10 minutes earlier, I wouldn’t really be complaining right now, but this is my take:

    1. Pulled Pork – The pork is kind of dry, not overly flavorful. I actually think the pulled pork at Waffles and Dinges is better made
    2. Smoked Chicken – Had a nice kick to it. Not sure what the veggies were on top but overall, it was my favorite….and I usually don’t like chicken. The meat was moist.
    3. Brisket – A little disappointing. I hardly taste or notice the avocado as the bbq sauce is overpowering. The meat itself isn’t as tender and fall-apart as the new midtownlunch reviewer is saying, at least not mine.

    As I waited in line, many people walked by and commented “no food is worth that wait.” I would disagree….I would wait an hour for shake shack if I didn’t have to go back to work. I’d wait a good 20 minutes for a NYC Cravings porken and rice, I’d wait 20 minutes for a Schnitzel Down. I won’t wait 45 minutes for a line that moves like molasses for a mexican bbq truck that overwhelms any sense of mexican flavor with overly potent bbq sauce.

    I can’t comment on the tacos; they might be life changing, but I’ll have to check back another time.

    I’ll be back to the truck if the operational kinks get worked out. I don’t really have any qualms about the costs even though it’s a bit on the pricey side. I just wish that they’d even out the flavors a bit rather than bludgeon you with such strong bbq sauce.

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    They are incompetent beyond belief. They ran out of styrofoam boxes for the food so people now have to carry their food on paper plates through manhattan and they freaking forgot my order. After 20 minutes of standing in the heat I went up and they said, “Uhhh oh, uhhh sorry.” Retards.

    • Your fault. You knew the hype and bought into it.

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      Sorry about that, ahmster. We greatly underestimated the demand in the past week, so we ran out of this great packaging we’ve been getting from IFN Green in California (next shipment is on the way). The guys in the truck have also been under a tremendous amount of stress and still figuring things out. We’re improving though and I think we’ll have things down to a science soon.
      -Thomas at Mexicue

      • Hi Thomas,

        I plan on making a trip once I hear you’re all sorted out. I’d rather not wait in line/cause you undue stress till then either.


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    I walked out of my office and saw the truck. Didn’t buy into any hype. Get a life.

  • I ate there yesterday. The food is mostly good. It’s completely fresh. The food is tasty and at the same time the flavor was either muted or uneven. I got the Chorizo taco, Beet Taco, and Pulled Pork Slider.

    The Chorizo taco was tasty, but it would have been better if the chorizo had more than the minimum amount of flavor. It seemed to be slightly watered down.

    The Beet Taco was what you’d expect. Beets in a taco with goat cheese. The Beets were slightly on the tough side, but not bad.

    The Pulled Pork had lots of potential. Parts of it had a sweet BBQ flavor and others didn’t. The flavor was uneven.

    Overall, I agree completely with the review here. I was not full on $10 worth of food. In fact, I was starving by the end of the day (6PM) which is unusual.

    Every menu item is overpriced by $1. The Chorizo should be $3, not $4. The beets should be $2, not $3. The Pulled Pork is so small that it should be $2, not $3.

    They also move kind of slowly. I got on line at 1:15 and got my food at 1:50. There was a guy slicing slider buns when he could have been doing something more useful. They need to speed up.

    There’s one other problem. The exhaust releases right under the menu board which is almost right under the order window. The line also went in that direction, so the last 10 minutes was spent with the smell of exhaust or gas. If it’s not exhaust, then there’s some sort of gas smell around the truck, especially in the front and window side.

  • Tried it today and really enjoyed it. But yeah, one could complain it’s slow/overpriced, etc. Our favorites were the short rib taco and pork sliders. One of us got a bean taco (why?) and didn’t enjoy it, but it just tasted bland to me. Everyone got 3 items and were pretty filled.

    -Warren Sapp ate his pork slider next to us.
    -PoPo came and gave grief. Guys seemed to handle it well. Not sure how it was resolved. I also saw the nearby gaudy Indian truck has been fighting the law the past few days.

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    In the spirit of Mexican food…

    New York finally has some decent and authentic Mexican food to feed the stomach and soothe the soul :)

  • New to the area, I came across their truck and had a pulled pork bbq slider last week! “Full of flavor” description is well-deserved and well worth the $3!

  • Tried it today!

    I arrived at 11:29am, one minute before opening, so there were only 3 people on line before me(and noone on line after me FYI).

    I paid $10 and got the beet and goat cheese taco, the short rib taco, and the pulled pork slider. I was full and everything was delicious!

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