I love Sunset Park because it’s the best neighborhood in the city to indulge in the two cuisines I grew up with in Los Angeles: Mexican and Chinese. Serious taco connoisseurs probably already know about Tacos Matamoros, which in my mind ranks right up there with Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos in Bushwick and Tehuitzingo in Hell’s Kitchen. Next to Matamoros is Tacos Xochimilco, another fantastic Sunset Park taco joint. But I’m always on the look-out for new places so I was excited when a friend tipped me off to Tequilitas on 4th Avenue. So, how do the tacos compare?
They’re not bad. The al pastor especially had a pleasant tangy spiciness that other Mexican restaurants sometimes temper to please milder palates. The best thing I had all night was the gut-busting cemita, a monster of a sandwich packed with avocado, a fresh cheese very similar to mozzarella, chicken Milanesa and plenty of papalo, an herb that tastes kind of like a citrusy, more potent form of cilantro. At only $5.75, it was a steal; pair it with a couple of Bohemias or Negra Modelos (both only $3.50) and you have one hell of a cheap meal.
Everything else was kind of hit or miss. The carnitas were fine, lacking a bit of the crispiness and fattiness of truly superior pork, while the pig ear was a bit too glutinous for my taste. There are more ambitious plates as well, like the whole fish (pictured) and a plate of chilaquiles that was a bit heavy on the refried beans.
As for the restaurant itself, it’s a bare-bones kind of place, with telenovelas playing on the TV and beer specials advertised under the glass tabletops. It was unusually spacious, especially for a taco joint that seems to do most of its business in take-out orders. Me and my group of eight were the only people in there aside from two solo diners. All in all, not bad spot for a casual meal, especially when it comes to the cemita, plus cheap beers never hurt. If you’re new to the area, however, make sure to visit Matamoros and Xochimilco first.
Tequilitas, 5213 4th Avenue, Sunset Park, Brooklyn