Ignore the C, and Embrace Rinconcito Mexicano

Photo courtesy of Food in Mouth

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the DoH grading system, I will fear no C grade – for I am the baddest mother***er in Midtown’s lunch desert.”

Just keep thinking that. Yes, there’s a very big and very present C grade on the DoH’s website for Rinconcito Mexicano, formerly Las Poblanitas, but after readin a review from Food In Mouth I felt like it merited a visit. If you have the gumption to frame the C grade, and the confirmed roaches, in the framework of a hidden gem from a pre-Giulianified Manhattan, you’re gonna find something better than good – you’re gonna find authentic.

My first order was a torta, and it was done in a freakin’ flash. These guys are fast and furious but actually quite nice. I had mine with chorizo, because I’m a gigantic junkie for chorizo, but you can get them in chicken, beef, roast pork, or spicy pork as well.

It’s quite decently sized – maybe around 8” long and 3” across or thereabouts. It’s securely wrapped to the point where you very well could eat and walk simultaneously. It’d be a great go-to if you have a bus to catch or are just coming from one. Call it in and grab it, then make your way elsewhere and eat as you go.

Take a look at this freakin’ torta (sorry, I know the photo isn’t great.) I admit I haven’t had many tortas in the past, and I’m totally open to changing that, but this was one of the better damn sandwiches I’ve had, period. The bread tasted like decent quality Cuban bread and was well pressed. Guacamole, cheese, what looks like cactus, lettuce, tomatoes, pork, and a smidgen of mayo come together really well. Each bite was well-layered so you don’t suffer some kind of burrito syndrome, where you find poorly-spread or poorly-mixed chunks of individual components. The chorizo was quite nicely smokey and just a little spicy, enough to give a little tingle. Eight bucks before tax/tips/drinks. Close to the top end but pretty damn tasty.

Second round – tacos. A co-worker ordered the spicy pork and in my opinion, it was quite nice, but the pork was a little dry. There’s enough crust on the pork to make me think they’re just carnitas tossed with some extra spices, but the dryness wasn’t too pronounced. They had a nice crunchiness on the crispy bits, and while they weren’t drippingly moist with juices, they had a really nice rounded flavor to them. My next target is the regular pork, to see if it’s soupy and pulled like Chipotle or Qdoba does theirs – which, IMHO, is just a load of stringy liquid pork crap no matter how well it’s done.

The tacos are done as they should be from any bodega taco counter or a seriously real Mexican food cart like El Rey del Sabor – double-layered small tortillas, chopped onion and cilantro, and some lime to squeeze on. Rinconcito tosses in guacamole and salsa, both of which are decent. Nothing earth-shattering but definitely homemade; the chunks of tomato aren’t fully singularly even. These weren’t run through a mandolin or Vidalia chopper, nothing of the sort. The guac was a little too liquidy for my taste, but it was well-balanced otherwise. Putting ‘em all together was a darn good taco, again with a choice of chicken, beef, chorizo, roast pork, or spicy pork.

It’s too bad for Rinconcito that its location is questionably close to Port Authority, and that its prices are so high. Their menu has mole poblano, pipian, cecina – all things you expect from a proper authentic Mexcian joint, but none of the real exotic bits and pieces are within ML price ranges. However, if their burritos retain some of the quality that they did from the 2009 ML review, it might well be worth real revisitation. I can’t think of another authentic Mexican restaurant with ML prices within striking distance of us poor folks in the west 30s , aside from the occasional Domo Taco visit – yes, that’s as close as we get. Are you listening, El Rey del Sabor?

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

  • Authentic and decent quality
  • Quick preparation and delivery
  • Real non-chain non-Tex non-Cali Mexican!

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

  • It’s really, really hard to overlook the straightforward “there are roaches here” DoH report and accompanying C grade
  • The really good stuff is way out of the $10 max ML price range
  • It’s either in tourist hell or PABT hell, depending on your location point of view

Rinconcito Mexicano, 307 W 39th St (btw. 8+9th). 212-268-1704


  • looks nice…will drop in to say hi to the roaches next time I’m in the area.

    Finalists for most abused literary “flair” on ML:
    1. “freakin”
    2. “I’m looking at you _____________”

  • I used to go to to Rinconcito back when Las Poblanitas had the lunch buffet. Ended up going to the Rinconcito with my co-workers, and weren’t really impressed. If you’re that close, why not just walk a few blocks north to Ponche? The prices seem to be about the same, and I found the food there to be way more enjoyable.

    • Wait…I just realized I was thinking of El Ranchito del Agave. That said…I still stand by my statement that Ponche is good.

      • Ponche seriously botched a delivery order a while back – sour cream EVERYWHERE. The quesadilla itself was just meh at best. Is there something worth really targeting at Ponche that sets ‘em apart? Blockheads was my previous delivery go-to for Mex before Rinconcito became an option, and they’re about as authentic Mexican as Woody Allen.

        Same for Ranchito… never been there, struck me as a bit cookiecutter, and while I wouldn’t try the AYCE, I’d take a shot at their take-out.

      • Well, I’ve tried their torta, some of the tacos, and the burrito, and thought all of them to be very good.

        The torta was good, but I thought it was a bit small compared to some others I’ve had in the city. The burrito was nice as well, but the tacos are what I really liked. I thought it was a plus that you could order a three-taco plate, and could actually pick three different meats (the carnitas borrachas was my favorite).

  • I’m sure their recipe for “regular pork” has been passed down for generations, fully singularly.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    how much are the tacos?

  • Maybe they aren’t actually roaches, but chapulines?

  • B grade is my threshold. Will not eat anywhere with a C grade.

  • MJP- always gotta include the prices!

  • Uhm, how can MJP post an entry here when MJP is not a defined contributor? http://midtownlunch.com/bios/ See? No MJP.

    • Tough crowd! Unofficial announcement, I’m the newest defined contributor. I’ll bio myself up and get it set up to make it all nice and official-like at some point hopefully this week.

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.