I was thrown off for a while to the great tacos being served here, since the truck that was there for years was pretty horrible. The Cuatro Vientos truck parks on Roosevelt between 65th and 67th St after 8pm, usually in front of Gleason's Paint Supply shop. For a better reference, it's the truck just across the street from Sripraphai. Whereas the previous truck was manned by a few gregarious and welcoming guys peddling mediocre fare, the new Cuatro Vientos truck offers a more subdued experience, and is staffed by two women (and another kitchen runner). For a quiet stretch of Roosevelt Ave, people seem to appear in clumps, and for some reason, I seem to get there just when some driver comes by and orders 10 tacos and 5 tortas, making my wait longer than it should be. But that's indicative of the business.
There's the standard list of taco fillings you see at just about every other taco joint that dots Roosevelt Ave. My usual orders are the carnitas and lengua tacos, both of which are way above average. But looking at the taco menu, you come across other items you don't find on the standard NY taquería menus. Things like sobrebarriga, campechano, or pernil. And this is where I find Cuatro Vientos separates itself from the pack. Sobrebarriga seems to mean "above the belly" and refers to skirt steak. Suadero is a similar cut, and I'm not quite sure how different they are, or if they are actually the same thing, since the term sobrebarriga seems to be used more in South America than in Mexico. Nonetheless, this is a superb taco filling. I liken it to the beefy version of good carnitas. Crispy and slightly stringy, I think the meat is slow roasted, braised, or steamed beforehand and then finished with a blast of heat to create that crispness, and then grilled on the flat-top before inserting them in tortillas. Campechano is another filling I don't see often in NYC. It's the combination of beef and chorizo, and well, who wouldn't like that combination? I also wonder whether pernil and carnitas is the same thing but made for different latino groups to understand more easily. Both tasted like carnitas. I'll have to get to the bottom of that controversy. So far, I've gone through most of the tacos menu and I'm pleased to have this truck so nearby. It's my usual stop for a protein filled dinner after a night of playing sports.
Los Cuatro Vientos
Roosevelt Ave and 65th St, Queens, NY 11377