Taco Bite Takes a Bite Out of Authenticity

I haven’t worked in Midtown in over 10 years, and rely entirely on Midtown Lunch for my information. Now that I’m writing for ML, I rely on its readers to tell me what I should be eating – so when reader “locondcoco” suggested I check out Taco Bite, I headed over there.

While “locondcoco” said he’d enjoyed the “burrito platter” – Taco Bite’s version of Chipotle’s burrito bowl, or just the innards of a burrito served in a container without the tortilla – I opted to go a different route, so that I could try more of the proteins and report back to y’all. This presented a slight problem for me, as I personally don’t care very much for soft corn tortillas. Thankfully, they offer crunchy tacos, though I fully admit I was pretty wary with showing the readers of ML that I ordered crunchy tacos after they ripped the last reviewer of Taco Bite a new one over the word “authenticity”.

After a brief wait to get my tacos, I made my way to sit in the plaza at 47th and Park, where they seem to prefer setting up most weekdays. When I opened the container, I was immediately surprised by a few things: the radish (the attempt at, cough, authenticity or what I’ve experienced from the taco trucks in Oakland, CA, threw me a little); the size of the tacos – $3/each but these were HUGE and pretty stuffed!; and the shells. For some reason, I’d assumed they’d fry their own – otherwise, not sure why I had to wait so long for them to fill my shells with what mostly should have been prepped ahead of time – and honestly, is it that hard to fresh fry corn tortillas? Serious question: I used to have access to routinely freshly-fried chips, shaping them can’t be that much more difficult.

Initially, I’d wanted to order chorizo but they were out. Though the guy suggested the tinga (shredded chicken marinated in their chipotle adobo sauce) instead, I chose, left to right: carnitas; carne asada; al pastor. While I waited, I heard a lot of people ordering tinga; I’m not sure if they were pushing it or if it was that good, will have to try it next time.

With such a wide combination of toppings from which to choose, I went very standard to make things simple. The choices are a little surprising – I wish they had maybe a list of suggested toppings for each protein, because it seems some of these toppings would be a terrible idea on some of the meats. In any case, I chose onion, cilantro and tomato, after asking and finding out the cheese is a blend of monterey and cheddar. Weird blend to offer on tacos that seem to be trying to be better than Taco Bell…? And for my sauces, chipotle crema and avocado delight.

The carnitas, carne asada and al pastor were all individually flavorful and moist meats. I most enjoyed the al pastor, which, aside from having been obviously braised in pineapple juice, included chunks of pineapple, lending it a nice sweetness that balanced out the very tiny kick from the chipotle crema. The avocado “delight” added a bit of richness as well. So my main problem here… these processed taco shells – Ortega Flats, I believe, with the flat bottom so they can stand up while you stuff them – were stale. I’m guessing not a lot of people order them, or maybe it was so humid that day, an open package of shells became super stale. FAIL. Or you can say it was a fail on my part for ordering them.

Despite that, I managed to power through and eat all three. It helped that the innards were really tasty and I thoroughly enjoyed them – and I’d not been given a spoon or fork to eat just the fillings anyway. Next time, I’m definitely getting the burrito platter, maybe hold the rice and beans and just have it over lettuce. I was super stuffed after the three huge tacos.

By the way, if you’re a lady looking to pick up a banker, apparently sitting on the ledge outside the JP Morgan Chase building there, stuffing your face with tacos, is the perfect place to get hit on. No less than THREE suits approached me separately to first ask me what I was eating and where I got it, and then proceeded to try to awkwardly prolong the conversation. I guess being able to scarf down three tacos is impressive or something. (If you’re a banker looking to pick up ladies this way, it doesn’t work. I was just annoyed that my lunch was interrupted.) Maybe I should have told them to find out on Midtown Lunch, haha!

THE + (what people who like this will say)

  • Flavorful meats? Sign me up!
  • I like lots of toppings!
  • HUGE tacos!
  • Crunchy tacos, om nom nom
  • So many choices…

THE – (what people who don’t like this place will say)

  • This is like Taco Bell trying to elevate themselves
  • $9 for three tacos is a rip
  • I prefer my Mexican food closer to Taco Bell
  • Who puts Monterey Jack and cheddar on real tacos?
  • Stale crunchy tacos is an abomination.

Taco Bite, NE corner of 47th Street and Park Avenue
Though you should double check their Twitter before heading out, it seems like they’ve taken to setting up shop at 47th and Park more often than not.


  • Ai gurl, nice tacos.

    Seriously though, $3/taco? Prepackaged shell? Might as well go to Chipotle.

    • The insides/meats were really good, which I feel warrants a visit without getting the crunchy tacos. I don’t think most trucks make their own tortillas, so it’s along the same vein – just that crunchy tacos get a really bad rap since they’re not “authentic” or something.

      • I live in a town in upstate NY that has a huge Mexican population and I frequent a place that sells 5 tacos for 7 bucks, so I doubt I’ll be hitting this truck up.

        Even though my comment is snarky, I just want to say that I do appreciate your review (and everyone else that contributes to ML for that matter). As a blogger, I’m sure you know that my ire is at the food and not the reviewer. Your post is great. Keep up the good work. :)

      • Where is this place that sells 5 tacos for $7? If you don’t want to share publicly, send me an email please!

        Didn’t take offense to your comment, just wanted to defend it as “this is what’s available to us, and it’s pretty tasty albeit with Midtown prices” – as has always been the goal of this site, I believe.

        And thanks :)

  • Great write up and thanks for the shout out! Glad you enjoyed. I’m just upset their new spot is just too far for me to go. And just a word on the burrito platter for those that want to try, it is a lot of food, and that’s from a pretty big eater. Its also $1 extra for the platter (in case you miss it on the menu, like I did).

    • Thank you! And thanks for the suggestions, I have a list that I’m slowly going through. This goes to anyone: I literally never know what to eat for lunch, so you guys toss out some suggestions, places you want to see written up and I’ll try my best to hit them up!

  • Thorough, comprehensive, and so well written. Thanks!


  • I used to go to Taco Bite Truck all the time when they would park at 38th/Broadway. I’ve never tried their tacos (which, you are right, look lacking), but they have fantastic meats and sauces, and they have the best quesadilla I’ve ever found in NYC. Griddled right, nice and cheesy, packed full of flavorful meat.

    The tinga and carnitas are my favorites. Also, the burrito platter is enough to have two days in a row (for me at least).

    I wish they were closer by — 47th is further than I can get most days.

    • “Also, the burrito platter is enough to have two days in a row”

      haha…I did just that when I first discovered them!

    • I will definitely be trying to burrito platter at some point, and two meals sounds like a total bargain. Works for me!

  • why not just hit up the real mexican truck on the same block? also the comparison with cali mexican is super tiring.

    • What truck is that? I’ll try to check them out next.

      I completely agree with you on the Cali-Mexican comparison. On the flip side, you know what’s also tiring? Writing about Mexican food in NYC and someone commenting that “this isn’t as good as what I get in California” – so my attempt to squash that before it happens is to address it. So far so good… no one’s commented and told me “I get this for $1.50 in Oakland” :)

      • The taco trucks under the 7 along Roosevelt will also put radish — sometimes waaaay too much radish — on the tacos. I don’t think they’re trying to be Californian so much as “this is what we do”. Maybe that comparison would please the audience more?

      • That is why I wrote “authenticity”; however, it was a throwaway comment. The presence of radish surprised me, period (though I’ve seen it on tacos previously). Perhaps because of the odd juxtaposition of crunchy taco shell and radish. Not sure. It surprised me… period.

      • I’d have been thrown too, but only because I’ve only ever gotten radish on the side (Jackson Heights, Oakland, Mexico, doesn’t matter.). It’s like a palate cleanser more than a topping.

      • Really, Dean?
        http://feistyfoodie.com/2010/07/19/oakland-taco-truck-tour/ – first couple of pics show radishes on the taco but even more to the point
        http://feistyfoodie.com/2012/06/14/queens-taco-crawl/ – I wasn’t there, but you were, and at least one of these tacos is covered in radish. Granted, it’s not yours, so if you want to be pedantic, I suppose you didn’t actually get the radish on your taco :P

      • PFFFT that it’s just sloppy plating! :)

        where’s my aloe vera…

  • I could almost cry thinking about the disappearance of the Sombrero cart on 6th ave…did those sweet folks really retire?

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