When stopping in a taqueria, passing up the namesake offering isn't always easy. Sometimes I’ll get swayed by a torta if I’m in the mood for something more substantial (ok, that’s more cemita territory). Entrees? I really need to explore more.
Luckily, Taqueria Coatzingo has a few pages’ worth to choose from. For a short list, just look to the plastic stand-up display of “specials” (I’m not convinced this ever changes) on the table. I started at the top and ordered puerco adobo.
Yes, this deep crimson sauce speckled with ancho chile seeds is the same thick liquid that surrounds chipotles in those little cans. This version is deeper and fresher with none of that metallic tanginess you often get from preserved food. I wasn’t expecting ribs since other dishes specifically mentioned costillas and this simply advertised pork. These three lengths with tender meat barely clinging to the bone were just right.
Soupy refried beans and rice on the side. Mexican rice doesn't do much for me; maybe I'm just prejudiced against the green bean, corn and carrot medley hiding in the grains. I did like diamond-cut wedge of mild queso fresco, though.
Bistec Mexicana, which I’m assuming is named for its tomato, onion, jalapeno color resemblance to the Mexican flag. This is from the regular menu.
The only downside had nothing to do with the food. I was seated in a shallow nook with the flat screen TV directly above my head (it did cast an unnatural glow on my plates) so I couldn’t watch 12 Corazones, my new favorite dating show. (I discovered it last weekend in Puerto Rico—yes, I laze about hotels, watching TV while on vacation. I also sleep in so late I always have to start my day with lunch.) Then again, there are worse things than distraction-free dining.
Taqueria Coatzingo * 7605 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, NY