Soho isn’t promising territory for Mexican street chow, but Calexico aims to change that. This cart operation, launched in July by three brothers from Southern California, offers border Mexican–tacos, burritos, and quesadillas with flavors described as “equal parts Mexican taqueria and American barbecue pit.”
Hounds are buying it. Chipotle pork–slow-cooked meat in smoky sauce–is heavenly in tacos ($3) or burritos ($7), with a shot of extra flavor from pickled onions and tomatillo sauce, says livetotravel. Also recommended: chicken tacos, carne asada (marinated skirt steak), and grilled corn (with cotija cheese, chile powder and lime). “Super fresh and flavorful,” declares NateV, “some of the best Cal-Mex in New York City–and to be honest, better than most of what you get on the Left Coast.” The carne asada is a signature dish, which you can buy by the pound to cook at home; order ahead by phone or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Calexico is open weekdays from 11 a.m. till 3 or 4 p.m.–or whenever they run out of food.
In the East Village, a street stand called Snack Dragon has won a following among night owls with tacos made from unusually fresh ingredients–not south-of-the-border authentic, but more Southwestern style. Fish tacos ($4) are superb, says ningerma–grilled sole, delicious red cabbage-chipotle slaw, lime, and cilantro on a blue corn tortilla. Other taco fillings include chicken in salsa verde, quinoa, and tasty carne asada–all come with cheese, homemade salsa, cilantro, sour cream, and great black beans with an alluring floral undertone.
Snack Dragon, opened last year by a painter and onetime bartender, surfaced in its current location this summer after a few months’ hiatus (it originally occupied a shack around the corner, outside a deli-grocery on Avenue B). It gets going after 6 p.m. and stays open extra-late, till around 4 a.m., on Friday and Saturday nights.
Wooster and Prince Sts., NE corner, Manhattan