Your First Look at La Biblioteca’s Tequila Bar Tacos
I haven’t touched tequila in years. Just a whiff brings back memories of my 20s and “just one more shot” at 3am on a Tuesday night. No, thanks. That said, I’ll do a go a long way for a good taco. When I read about Zengo’s new lunch of three tacos for $10 in their tequila bar, I knew I’d have to suck it up and bury those shredded memories to get my hands on some high class tacos.
Descending from the daylight into a dark basement bar is a little ominous for the lunch break. I assure you and any co-workers or superiors who may be reading this that brightly colored bottles of liquor on the wall are not usually the decor of the places I have lunch.
Ordering takes place at the bar and they tell you that you should listen out for your number, but my order got brought to my table. Your mileage may vary.
The menu is relatively short and sweet, there are a handful of tacos, split between $9 and $10 for three. I ordered a mixed batch with one each of carnitas ($9), carne asada ($10) and the special of the day, duck ($10). They rounded that up, and I paid $10 for the three and splurged on an order of mango juice ($3).
The tacos are spare. There’s one tortilla each and they’re topped with onions and cilantro. Cheese and guac each cost a buck more .
The duck was great – packed full of shreds of crispy, chewy bits of meat and skin.
The carne asada was my least favorite. Meaty and tender, sure, but it needed something more. I usually expect it to be roasted or grilled, so maybe a little char or grillmarks would have made it better.
The carnitas left me wishing I’d just ordered three of those. Crispy like the duck, meaty like the beef and with a great porky flavor that really left me craving more.
The first complaint I expect to hear is that it’s $10 for three tacos. Yes, that’s not a great deal, but walking back to the office, I passed the Qdoba across the street and saw noticed that their tacos were $7.39 for three tacos that I can’t begin to imagine are remotely as good. Yes, it’s not a $2 taco truck, but it’s plenty good.
On future visits, I want to check out the mahi mahi and maybe the chicken, although I expect to want more of those carnitas more than anything else. I’ve never been to Pampano Taqueria so I can’t say if it’s different or not (it’s the same owners and same chef) but I’m guessing if you like one, you’re going to like the other.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Duck Tacos FTW!
- Porky goodness in those carnitas.
- I get to stare at booze (and maybe try some) during lunch.
- The wait at Pampano Taqueria is so long! This took 5 minutes.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Ten bucks for three tacos! I can get a much better deal from El Rey del Sabor, two avenues away
- For ten bucks, you can double up my tortillas. Seriously.
- The mango juice was watery. I should have stuck with the Jarritos.
- My carne asada should be grilled or roasted. Needs more char.
Zengo, 622 3rd Ave. (40th St), 212-808-8110