Posted by: Orlick | December 22, 2009

Taqueria Coatzingo – Jackson Heights Mexican

Taqueria Coatzingo
Category: Mexican
7605 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 424-1977
also 40-18 82nd St, Elmhurst, NY 11373

When people tell me New York City has no good Mexican food I shut them up by taking them here.

Originally I thought this was just good food at decent prices. Now, further acquainting myself with the neighborhood and this restaurant, it’s intrigue has taken me. It’s been an acquired love for Coatzingo.

For me, it’s all about the specials. There’s something about a temporal menu which gets me going every time. At each, daylight and nightfall, there are about 10 items on the board, with some complex dishes among them. And as someone who must get something different every time, maybe in a quest for knowledge, maybe because I get bored easily, maybe because I always think there’s more out there, this is a restaurant where I can go every night for 3 weeks and still keep my mouth asking “What else??” I was going to boast a year, but let’s be real… I’d get tired of their unique rice – there’s corn in there, I can taste it. As far as selections go, unless you’ve had it before, it can be a crapshoot. But if the choice is a hit, it is tremendous, and if a miss, at least it’s a learning experience, “ohhh, nopales are cactus!” I am pleased to announce they took the pins out and it was surprisingly awesome with cheese and lots of sauce in there.

This taqueria is surprisingly an oasis for English-only speakers. While I would have liked to flex my Learn ‘n’ Drive Spanish, without getting into preparation talk, I usually have no problem communicating. Overall, portions are usually large and I barely have room for other people’s food.

———–

It is difficult to justify taco carts when take-out from here is a block away. $2 tacos are BIG. Bigger than most taco stands. And for the same price. Sometimes they have taco specials. I kick myself every time I forget to check the board and miss out on tacos de cabeza (of the head). Carnitas tacos are sooo good. So tasty. I felt like in idiot last time I had one because I couldn’t help telling my eating partner “this is soo good” after every bite. Birria de res is a pack of beef stew on a taco, tastes brisket-like. Many people rave about the al pastor, but I have never enjoyed it too much. Maybe it wasn’t salty enough for me, maybe I’m missing the pineapple.

Their cemita is a toasted sesame roll, hot pepper, papalo herb, avocado, layer of meat, lettuce, tomato, another layer of meat, big layer of oaxaca cheese and some bean spread. Get the milanesa de res and you will be satisfied for days. Get the Cuban and you’ll love life again. Get any cemita and all is good in the world.

Coatzingo is a treasure to Jackson Heights and the crowd is the evidence. The menu is too large though and I could never order all the specials. That’s why YOU have to go and tell me about the rest!

Links:
Coatzingo is a municipality in Puebla, Mexico
Frequently Mentioned on Chowhound
Experiences at Coatzingo
More Chowhound chitchat about Coatzingo
50 people have reviewed it on yelp, and not one has reviewed it’s 82nd St location??
A Jackson Heights trip from Beyond Burritos (cool site!)
What is a Cemita?

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