Antojitos Mexicanos Cart Brings Queens to Midtown
While we have some great food carts in Midtown, some may argue that the best street food in New York is along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens – especially when it comes to Indian, Latin American, and Mexican food. Last week Lunch’er David R wrote in with a tip about a new Mexican cart on 39th and Park that is serving the authentic stuff you usually only find out in Jackson Heights.
Turns out the owner of the new Antojitos Mexicanos is also the owner of La Cueva Deli in Corona and decided to set up shop near the Mexican consulate here in Midtown last week. The menu looks pretty good with the usual suspects of tacos, quesadillas, and tortas at reasonable prices. I was also impressed by their list of fillings, which featured tinga, flor de calabaza, and milanesa, which we don’t always see from carts in Manhattan. They also offer hamburgers.
Of course, I wanted to try everything on the menu, but I had to start somewhere. For this first go-round, I got two tacos and finished with a quesadilla. That did end up a little expensive at $9 before I even thought about ordering a drink. I ordered a cecina taco since I was feeling like beef and the owner suggested carnitas.
El Rey del Sabor is my go-to for Mexican street food and so I couldn’t help but compare the food here to that. The tacos were generously filled with meat, but were lacking in the salsa department. I expect it to come dressed or at least with salsas on the side in the bag, but both were rather plain. The beef in the cecina was salty and quite smoky. It had a chewy texture, as usually is the case with this kind of beef. The chopped onions and guacamole added a bit of freshness, but nothing special here.
The carnitas were a mess of porky richness. I found it a little too overly fatty. It had some nice flavor, but not a very pleasant texture. I like my carnitas to be crisp and juicy and these were not.
Finally, I came to the quesadilla. Instead of being over-saturated with melted cheese, this version concentrated on the tortilla which was grilled to a warm, blistered crisp. I chose the tinga, which is shredded chicken marinated in a tomato-y sauce. The cheese was sharper than I expected and the smoky chicken leaned to the sweet side (reminded me of a tangy BBQ sauce) with just a hint of spiciness. But it was definitely filling and warm with more creamy guacamole and crisp lettuce and onions inside. But for God’s sake, give me some salsa!
The few options I tried here didn’t compare to the wonderful freshness and lively flavors of the El Rey del Sabor carts. Those three are a bit of a walk from here, so if you work near the Mexican consulate, this is certainly an authentic and affordable option. But not quite as good as you may expect from a Queens-based food cart.
Antojitos Mexicanos Cart, NW Corner of 39th Street and Park Ave.