Flatiron Lunch: Sixth Ave Mexican Cart Has Heat That Sneaks Up On You
Every Friday our man UltraClay goes south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
Way back in June, at the Midtown Lunch Birthday Party, I got to meet a few lunchers, including Goats, who gently (that’s code for drunkenly) suggested that I totally need to check out the Mexican food cart on Sixth Avenue btw. 28+29th. I had passed it before from time to time, but wasn’t sure what they were selling. You see, the cart has no sign, no menu and, besides the long line of folks speaking Spanish, there’s not much of a hint as to what kind of food they sell. But with the strong lunch’er recommendation, I obviously had to check it out.
The first time I stopped by it was a little later in the lunch hour, and since there’s no menu or anything I stood in line with pretty much no idea what I was going to get. I usually hate that, but I figured I’d just roll with it and wait my turn to ask the guy working the skillet. He told me that he usually has a bunch of stuff, but today only beef and pork tacos. Now, that was fine by me, but I was intrigued as to what else was usually available. He’d already hooked me for another visit before I’d even gotten my first order.
I ordered two pork tacos and one beef, with a Jarritos, which came out to about $9. I think each of the tacos might have been $2.50? Another problem with no menus – no prices until you’ve ordered. I had him give me the first taco, a pork one, to eat while he finished prepping the others. Having seen me taking a couple pictures, he presented this to me and said, ‘take a picture of this!’ It was certainly a thing of beauty.
I immediately tore into it. The meat had an intense porkiness that was surprising and wonderful. It was also scalding hot, which probably shouldn’t have surprised me, but made eating it standing next to the cart a bit difficult.
By the time that was done, the other two tacos were ready. I walked across the street to the outdoor space behind FoodParc to gobble them down as well. The beef was good, but not nearly as distinctly flavored as the pork. The chunks of radish and the sauce crept up on me, providing much more of a kick than I initially thought it would. By the time it was all done, I needed that Jarritos to cool my tongue.
I stopped back for a second time earlier this week and, again having no idea what was available, waited to make it to the front of the line. “Oh, you want roast pork in green sauce?” he said. Of course I do. Of course I do.
The pork platter ($7-8) was served with rice and black beans (which leaked all over the napkins in the bottom of the bag), a bit of salsa and greens and a whole lot of sauce.
It also came with a stack of tortillas, steaming hot and wrapped tightly in foil which I then used as a backdrop to demonstrate how big the chunks of pork in this order were.
This one was the biggest – and needed to be shredded a bit before it worked inside of a tortilla – but it was not the only chunk in there. The green sauce wasn’t over the top with spice at first, but it also crept up on me over time. The meat was succulent and even a fairly generous portion didn’t seem like enough.
Not that the pork platter needed any additional support, but when I saw a stack of these sitting on the griddle, I had to inquire. He called them gorditas and then translated that to pupusas. In either case, it’s a flat, fried disc of bread stuffed with salsa, crema, greens and cheese. The exterior is crunchy anf awesome, but I felt like I could have used a little of that delicious pork in the middle of it.
The cart seems to have different dishes everyday based on the whims of the man working the griddle. Given that, I’m psyched about the idea of going back again and again to try out new meals each time.
The +: (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- New and different Mexican food daily from a cart? Yes please.
- That pork was really flavorful
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- A menu would really be helpful
Sixth Avenue Mexican Cart, 6th Ave between 28th & 29th Streets.