Sunset Park, One Taco at a Time

Among the many Mexican options along Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, Tacos Matamoros is the people's choice—a lively, family-friendly place that Bob Martinez calls Sunset Park's answer to SriPraPhai, the perennially jammed Thai destination in Queens.

Almost as large as Matamoros's following is its al pastor cemita, a tasty and titanic sandwich of spit-roasted pork, avocado, cheese, onion, and red sauce on a sturdy semolina egg roll. Just how big is it? "Imagine a really big bar burger," Bob suggests. "Then increase the size by about 20% and you'll get an idea of the sheer heft of this thing." Its deliciousness matches its dimensions: "This was one of the better things I've eaten this year. There was a nice balance of flavors with plenty of variety." Others are pleasantly surprised to find tortas, cemitas, and tacos made with cuts of meat more commonly found at trucks than in sit-down restaurants—suadero (brisket), cabeza (head), and buche (esophagus), for example.

Matamoros's smaller, quieter location a few blocks south is also a good bet for fresh, flavorful chorizo or spicy pork tacos. "While the place is utterly bare bones it's clean and the serving staff is very sweet," Bob says. "The movie posters are a bonus."

driggs thinks Matamoros deserves most of the praise and business it gets, but he finds the neighboring Tacos Xochimilco even better. Its soups are especially nice. driggs's favorite is mole al estilo, a Pueblan specialty of beef short rib in spicy broth loaded with vegetables. Silverjay goes for the tacos, especially lengua, and the pambazo ("basically a fork and knife Mexican sloppy Joe"). Xochimilco's cooking is homier and its spicing sometimes more robust than Matamoros's, hhhippo suggests. "I'm a fan of both places, though, and I go back to each."

Tacos Matamoros [Sunset Park]
4508 Fifth Avenue (near 45th Street), Brooklyn
718-871-7627

Tacos Matamoros [Sunset Park]
5717 Fifth Avenue (between 57th and 58th streets), Brooklyn
718-439-5647

Tacos Xochimilco [Sunset Park]
4501 Fifth Avenue (at 45th Street), Brooklyn
718-435-7600

Discuss: Tacos Matamoros & Sunset Park
Tacos Xochimilco (sunset park)

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