NYC Tacos: Pinche Taqueria is Authentic & Flavorful

Date November 3, 2008

One of New York City’s ongoing arguments is the question of what constitutes a great taco. Can we all put our differences aside and simply focus on what’s delicious? Well NYC Food Guy can and I’m here to tell you that the tacos at Pinche Taqueria are tasty wherever you’re from. And if it’s any consolation, they’ve enlisted the assistance of several 80-year old women from Tijuana, Mexico to make sure things are up to snuff. Read on to find out which of the three tacos I tried wowed and where you can find it until 4AM Wednesday through Saturday…

Taco de Carne Asada ($2.95), Taco al Pastor ($2.95) and Taco de Pescado ($3.95)

The Taco al Pastor is Numero Uno

Spit-grilled pork is where its at; I’m talking about layers of chili pepper and pork roasting over an open flame and then shaved into a handmade tortilla and topped with chopped onions, cilantro, and a dollop guacamole. The flavors of fire, tender, fatty pork, and the underlying heat from the chilies combine with the fresh cilantro and onion to create my favorite of the three tacos I tried. The tortillas are small, but there’s a lot of meat and toppings packed into each one.

Fish Tacos Worth Reeling In Again

Pinche’s fried Mahi-mahi fish tacos have received some praise of late but while I enjoyed the crunchy cabbage and cilantro-mayo sauce, the actual fried fish arrived cold. The result was tasty but disappointing and the manager blamed it on a new fryer. I enjoyed it more than the Kingfish taco at Pampano Taqueria but I withhold my final judgement, and put the opinion to my readers, until a future tasting.

Pass On Carne Asada

There’s a fine line between a good grilled steak taco and a mediocre one. Unfortunately, the trend tends to skew toward the latter. The problem is that the pieces of chopped steak are usually dry and somewhat flavorless. At Pinche the steak in the carne asada taco was slightly moist but generally flavorless. The only saving graces were the onion, cilantro and guacamole.

Beware the Trap of the Yucca Fries

Don’t get me wrong, fried yucca is delicious. The only problem is that it’s heartier than potato and it fills you up a lot quicker. Although Pinche’s yucca fries ($4.50), which come with either cilantro mayo or roasted jalapeno ketchup, are tasty, they’re best when shared, otherwise this crispy snack will steal space for the main meal: tacos.

Taqueria and a Whole Lot More

Looking at Pinche’s menu, its a wonder how they can offer so many delicious dishes in such a small space. I recommend you come for breakfast, served until 4PM, to get a taste of their exemplary Heuvos Rancheros ($5.65 with rice, beans and tortillas), a personal reccomendation from the manager. This same manager also recommends the massive salads (bottom right on the menu) which come with your choice of meat.

Click on photos for Hi-Res Full Size Images

Pinche’s New Location

If you’re out drinking in the West Village, SoHo or even the East Village, you’re in luck. Pinche recently opened a new branch of their authentic taqueria at the corner of Lafayette Street and Bleecker Street, in the former space of Sparky’s. From Wednesday through Saturday you can now eat Pinche’s delicious Mexican food until 4AM. Liquor license is on the way.

Pinche Taqueria

227 Mott St. nr. Spring St.
New York, NY 10012
Hours: Thurs. – Sat. 12PM – 1AM
Sun. – Wed. Noon to 12AM
333 Lafayette Street at Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
Hours: Wed. – Sat. 7AM – 4AM
Sun. – Tues. 7AM – 1AM

40 Responses to “NYC Tacos: Pinche Taqueria is Authentic & Flavorful”

  1. Juanita said:

    80 year old mexican woman from tijuana!?! I”M SO IN!

    Food Guy – do you know of any good affordable mexican in hells kitchen??

  2. Jack said:

    Great review, gettin hungry just lookin at the pics.

  3. FN said:

    Man, those photos are making me hungry! I love this place, always fills me up good.

  4. The NYC Food Guy said:


    There are two authentic and affordable Mexican spots in Hell’s Kitchen:

    Tehuitzingo – 10th Ave b/t 47th & 48th
    Tulcingo del Valle – 10th b/t 46th & 47th

    I like Tulcingo better for Mexican meals i.e. Chile Rellenos, Chipotle Chicken, basically any dish with one of their sauces. The entrees at Tulcingo are better than the tacos. Tehuitzingo has received praise for their tacos but I thought they were just mediocre and the kitchen, which you order from in the back, was a dirty mess.

    If you’re looking for more of a Tex Mex vibe, head over to Burrito Box on 59th street and 9th Avenue. They have the best salsa I’ve had in the city, garlicky, slightly spicy and filled with fresh vegetables. Their meats are char broiled and their delivery is quick and efficient. Order a large chips and salsa and you get a huge bag of chips and a nice size container of salsa. Check out my reviews for photos.

    I’m not a Blockheads fan, but they do a good happy hour so if you’re looking for decent Mexican food but really just want to drink cheap after work, then check them out. They’re on 50th b/t 8th and 9th. Here’s a review.


    You should check this place out. The tacos are no joke. Where are your top Mexican spots in the city?


    What did you get at Pinche? If you return will you try something new?

  5. Corey Henderson said:

    Dude, next time get the Carnitas and Shrimp tacos. I’m a hard-core taco guy and those are my two favorites at Pinche.

    Did you realize too that Pinche means “f*cking” (used as an adjective)

  6. Jack said:

    I like Noche Mexicana on 101 and Amsterdam, good food and not too pricey.

  7. Niko said:

    This is great. I thought after burritoville closed there was no affordable mex food (authentic or not) left in Manhattan.

  8. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Carnitas and Shrimp together? The shrimp sounds great alone. Where else do you like tacos in NYC? Where are the best tacos you’ve ever had?

    Thanks for the Spanish lesson, that’s pretty hilarious, if its true. The free translation site I went to said “pinche” means “darn” in English. And I guess in our vocabulary, damn is pretty close to…..


    I don’t know Noche, is it a small, mainly take out spot? Or is it a real restaurant? Have you tried Great Burrito on 79th and Amsterdam? How about Taqueria y Fonda la Mexicana on Amsterdam and 108th? What do you get at Noche?


    Right on man, if it’s affordable, I’m going to try to find it. Where are your favorite tacos in the city?

  9. Phil said:

    these tacos look D-LISH!!!

    Election day people… get out there and VOTE! 🙂

  10. Bill said:


    was there pineapple in the Al Pastor taco? Almost all versions I have seen/heard of include pineapple for some residual sweetness.

    Carnitas and shrimp? I think 2nd Ave Deli will be adding that to their menu soon!!

  11. FN said:

    NYCFG, I had the Al Pastor when I was there. They were quite tasty.

  12. lauren said:

    I’m proud of you NY food guy – got away from children’s food with this one and the tacos look great.

    Btw, Tulcingo is my vote for best mexican. Not best tacos, but best mexican – Pozole, Fried Pork Torta and more!

  13. blockman said:

    food guy, how can you say you’re not a blockheads fan??? have you ever had a burrito from there, or the quesadilla grande with shredded beef? if you seriously don’t love either of these dishes, your credibility is pretty much entirely shot and i see no reason to continue reading this site…

    if you haven’t indulged in either of these meals at blockheads, then maybe you just got something crappy, not that i’ve ever had anything crappy at blockheads…maybe give it another go, bc you’re dead wrong food guy

  14. foodie said:

    fg, how are you forgetting the best mexican food in the city? RIO GRANDE!!! also, great margaritas but dont have more than three if your not a pro. just thinking about the strawberry margarita makes we wanna ROCK OUT WITH MY (rhymes with sock) OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Phil said:

    hmm i kind of concur with NYCFG.. i’ve only been to the blockheads on 2nd ave circa 52nd street but I must admit i do not think it is that good. But the drinks are FANTASTIC. they have a $10 all-you-can-drink mimosas during brunch on weekends 🙂

  16. Jack said:

    I only get loaded at the Kells Kitchen Blockheads, then watch the ladies walk by.

  17. blockman said:

    phil, you need to come to blockheads on 33rd and 3rd with me and see for yourself….anyone else in for a mexican food tour? lets get this going

  18. Phil said:

    blockman – when are you thinking? I would be down to go if a bunch of us from the site joined. Would be a bit weird if it was just the two of us. NYCFG – are you down?

  19. blockman said:

    jack might be in…maybe kristen and couple others? why not?

    i’m thinking friday during happy hour might work, they have $3 coronas i believe…

  20. Amanda said:

    i like tacos. especially homemade ones like the ones we made last night for the obama celebration. 🙂

  21. Amanda said:

    ps. the best thing about Blockheads is the 3$ margaritas. Food is ok, atmosphere ok, unlimited mimosa brunch rocks, I agree.

    I don’t know any of you except NYCFG, but I’d do a little Blockheads action with ya’ll.

  22. foodie said:

    in. its not happy hour until foodie shows up!

  23. foodie said:

    also, is there something wrong with this blog? my posts are always “awaiting moderation” and do not show up till like the next day.

  24. The NYC Food Guy said:


    I don’t think there was any pineapple involved in this al pastor, although the ones I’ve had from the Super Taco truck on 96th and Broadway definitely involved some pineapple and added a nice, subtle sweetness.


    Thanks Lauren, I’m all grown up. Tulcingo really does have great entrees, I’m going to have to give those you mentioned a shot. If you could only eat one more meal there, what would you get?


    Thanks for the input. I have had the burrito and was unimpressed, I’ve also had the grilled chicken tacos and was unimpressed. The salsa was also underwhelming. I have not had the shredded beef quesadilla, but that does sound excellent. I respect your opinion on Blockheads but I’ll be going there sooner for the drink deals than the food. If I want good Mexican, I will be looking elsewhere.


    I’ve been to Rio Grande and the only thing worth getting there are the Margaritas. The rest of the food was overpriced and just not that good.


    That’s a serious drink deal Phil. I think my problem with Blockheads is that they’re trying to be a “healthy” Mexican place, using organic ingredients. I don’t need that when I get Mexican, I want my Mexican food to be greasy and delicious.


    Hells Kitchen? What ladies?

    blockman & Phil,

    I am definitely down for drinks at Blockheads this Friday or a Mexican food tour. Whichever comes first. You guys name the time and the place and I’m there.


    What did you do for your tacos on Election Night?


    Your posts dont show up right away because you write inappropriate things sometimes and wordpress (the website provider) doesn’t like that.

  25. kristen said:


    i’m going out hard tomorrow night, but i can be @ blockheads around 5ish if that’s cool with everyone!

  26. Amanda said:

    Well let’s see: We had deliciously spiced hard and soft shell beef tacos with homemade guac, lettuce and pico de gallo, topped with a sprinkle of cheddar, sour cream and a bit of cilantro.

    They were delish.

  27. Amanda said:

    topped off with an Obama win. 😉

  28. lauren said:

    Get the Pozole (soup) on a cold day, and always get the Torta Carnitas (make sure you get the Torta, they mess this up sometimes). It is the perfect harmony of fried pork, cheese, red onion, refried beans and depending on what day various other elements.

    Also, I know this sounds Tex-Mex, but try their chicken nachos. WOW. Not a lot of food, but about 8 homemade chips, with great cheese, chicken, guac, tomatos and hot peppers. Awesome.

  29. Jack said:

    The Blockheads bet 8th and 9th across from Churiscarra P. It has outdoor seating in summertime, never ate just drank margaritas and sight see.
    Welcome back Kristen, glad to see you’ve recovered from Marathon Weekend 🙂

  30. Ulla said:

    I WANT THE PORK ONE! looks great!:) thanks for sharing!

  31. Beto ♡ ♫ ♪ ツ said:

    this looks SOo scrumptuous… (~_^)_v

  32. Bill said:


    I’ve made two trips there in the past couple of months. Mixed bag for me. I had the nachos on the 1st visit. Great flavors and I think the chips mat have been homemade. The only problem for me is tha all of the toppings were only on top. I wish the refried beans, cheese, guac and soue cream had been mixed in more and I wished that the jalapenos had been cut up smaller and more were on it.

    The 2nd visit, the pork taco and shrimp taco were underwhelming. The pork had cooled and the shrimp were a bit tough. The horchata was watery, but the elote (ear of corn with mayo, lime and spices) was soooo freakin good! I’d go back just for that.

  33. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Disappointing about Pinche’s tacos but as far as the nachos go, I find the problem of topping distribution on about 95 percent of nachos encountered at all restaurants. it’s such a common problem you think there would be greater efforts made to prevent it but it’s gotta be much cheaper to just top it off with the topping. Not that I agree with the move, but I’d have to see a serious amount of cheese to be sufficiently pleased with a big order of nachos.

    Here’s a question, for the same price, would you rather have a thin layer of chips, each covered in a lot of topping or a heaping pile of chips with toppings only on top?

  34. NYC Tacos: Don’t Try To Be Healthy at Pinche Taqueria, Order Nachos Instead « NYC Food Guy said:

    […] meal my heart was begging for something unfried at lunch the next day.  I hadn’t eaten at Pinche Taqueria’s second NYC outpost on Lafayette and Bleecker, so I decided to stop in for a Taco Salad, and of […]

  35. mrburns952 said:

    These were the best tacos I’ve had in NY so far, but that’s not saying too much since the tacos I’ve had before Pinche were pretty darn bad, and I’ve tried the places many have raved about. But since this place originated in Tijuana, I thought I’d give it a shot. They were ok. I tried the fish and al pastor. The fish was much better than the al pastor. Here were my main problems with their tacos:
    – too small — use bigger tortillas and fill em up!
    – the fish was warm but the pork was not — the meat must have been prepared hours before
    – the guac was very watery — did they even use real avocados?

  36. David A Tapia said:

    Those tacos look pretty darn good… but have you ever wondered what the name of the place means? Maybe I could help. In every day English I would normally say to my friends, hey guys lets eat some good, awsome, tasty, delicious or maybe even freakin tacos. But the Mexican in me would say it in street slang, in Spanish of course; Cabrones vamos a comernos unos “Pinches Tacos!” As you guessed it or maybe not, Pinche means “F#@en.” When the word Pinche is used it can be used to describe when something is good or bad, in this case I hope its good. Now can someone FedEx some of these tacos to me?

  37. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Thanks for the intel! That’s good to know. I hate to say that although these tacos are authentic and flavorful, I’m not sure they’re worth Fed Ex-ing (joke or not). So can you say “Pinches” in front of any noun and have it mean “F#@en?” Where do you live?

  38. David said:

    Sure, but don’t have to much fun with it, it might get you in trouble. I live in Chicago

  39. Anthony Echeverria said:

    Why is there guacamole on Tacos al Pastor? That is completely wrong. Onions, cilantro and pinnapple…. that’s it. salsas on the side based on individual preference.

  40. Keith said:

    Hi NYC Food Guy,
    I love Yucca Fries more than anything.
    Can I use your picture of the Yucca Fries on my website?
    Best, Keith.

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