Wow! I am a happy man today. There is this Mexican restaurant about a mile and a half from my house; every time I have driven, walked, or cycled past it in the past 4 1/2 years, I have thought Hm, that looks like a nice place, I should check it out. But whenever I have not been outside it, a general cynicism about the possibility of finding good Mexican food in Essex County has prevented me from following up on it.
Well lately I've been really craving Mexican food, and today I had no plans for lunch; so I rode over there. I go inside and my longstanding sense of it seeming like a nice place is magnified -- good smells, good music, the people who are eating look happy -- I ordered sopes de pollo and torta de lengua (not wanting to gamble yet on the quality of the tortillas, I did not order tacos) to go, and rode home with high expectations and a bag of food bumping against my front wheel.
And, well, the food lived up to my expectations. The sopes are just great, really hit the spot. The counter woman misheard me and gave me tacos de lengua instead of torta -- but that turned out to be ok because the tortillas are fresh and delicious! And the lengua was heavenly.
So how do I recommend this place? I don't think it's really worth a trip from the city -- based on this lunch it's about on the level of the better places in Corona, which is much more accessible from Manhattan/Queens/Brooklyn anyway. (I don't know Mexican cuisines by name but this was quite similar to the cuisine offered by the places on Roosevelt Ave -- maybe someone who knows will clue me in to the name of that cuisine.) Definitely worth your while if you are in Essex County, I don't know any other Mexican places in the county that are remotely as good. And if you are from anywhere and happen to be passing through Orange and hungry, well I'd say put this place on your list of worthwhile stops.
It is Braceros, in Orange, at 154 Scotland Rd. To get there from 280, take the Orange exit (10 if you are headed west, 11 if east), that will get you onto Northfield, then make a right on Main St. and another right on Scotland Rd. You will go over an overpass and then Braceros is the first building on your left.