Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tacqueria y La Fonda

Tacqueria y Fonda

968 Amsterdam Avenue

Tucked away in an unassuming space is Tacqueria, a restaurant serving large portions of inexpensive Mexican cuisine. The menu doesn’t have anything above $12, and the value is accentuated even further given that the restaurant participates in restaurant.com gift certificates (purchase a $25 gift certificate for $2-3 with a minimum purchase of $35 which in this restaurant isn’t so easy for a party of 2).

The kitchen starts off tables with home-made chips and 3 kinds of salsa. Beers are all $4 and include Sol, Dos Equis, and Corona. We started off with some guacamole ($6) for the table in an attempt to reach the $35 threshold, which was fair but easily forgettable and not something I would be quick to order again. I ordered the Giant Burrito ($9) which is filled with beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, sour cream and a choice of meat or vegetable. Following the waiter’s suggestion, I had mine with pork and grilled pineapple. I tend to think that I have a large appetite and yet I was narrowly defeated by the size of the burrito which I estimate to be about 1.5x the size of a Chipotle burrito and significantly tastier. While a substantial portion is rice and beans, the pork and pineapple were grilled perfectly and the mozzarella cheese forms chewy strings that contrast nicely.

At this point, we had spent $29 including 3 beers, the giant burrito and a vegetarian quesadilla. Scrambling to spend the extra $6, we were disappointed to discover that the only dessert option is flan. After ordering a chicken salad to go, which I subsequently ate the next day for lunch, our bill came to around $41, leaving the cost of the meal at $28 ($50 with tip - $25 gift certificate + $3 for the gift certificate). The chicken salad consisted of a nice portion of grilled thigh meat, avocado, tomato, onion and lettuce that left me satisfied but was certainly not up to standard with the rest of the meal.

While the atmosphere is non-existent and the location is fairly inconvenient for anyone living below 96th street, Tacqueria’s portions, inexpensive menu and quality make it a strong contender for one of the top cheap eats in NYC.

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