What happens when three veterans of the fine dining industry venture into the world of…drunk food? That’s the big question at Taquitoria, a mini shop that opened its doors this summer on New York’s Lower East Side. A collaboration between three Restaurant Marc Forgione vets — current general manager and sommelier Matthew Conway, former chef de cuisine Barry Frish and former hospitality manager Brad Holtzman — Taquitoria serves variations of just one item: taquitos.
A staple of the Southern California street food scene, taquitos are essentially rolled tacos that are then crisped and deep-fried. Yes, you may have seen them packaged in freezers at your local grocery store. But the real deal from Cali is on another level. Holtzman and Frish readily admit that they weren’t particularly familiar with the flute-like creations until Conway took them on a trip to San Diego, where the three partners snacked on taquitos non-stop during all hours of the day and night. Sounds like one heck of a “research" trip.
Customers choose from one of four fillings — Bell & Evans Chicken braised in Bloody Mary mix, Creekstone Farm Beef, Berkshire Pork or black bean — before choosing a style. “Classic” is served with Guac sauce, shredded lettuce and cojita cheese, while “Cheesy” consists of nacho cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapeño relish. An order of three taquitos sells for $5, while five go for $8. An ambitious third off-menu option, fittingly called “Chronic,” features all the toppings for an extra $3.
The standing-room-only space stays open until 4:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, catering to the post-bar and club crowd — there’s no more need to seek out that $1 slice of greasy NYC pizza. The Taquitoria team alternates between dishing out tasty late-night grub and zinging out barbs of wit to the city’s drunken masses at ungodly hours. Holtzman and Frish close up shop at around 5 a.m. and return bright and early the next morning to begin service. The restaurant currently delivers and also offers a catering box of 40 taquitos, served “Chronic” style. An additional box of buffalo chicken taquitos is available for order on football Sundays.
And get this: In honor of "Thanksgivukkah," the restaurant will be serving a latka taquito with apple sauce and sour cream and a turkey and Brussels sprouts taquito with gravy and cranberry sauce. The specials will be available all day next Wednesday, November 27.
168 Ludlow Street
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