Sunday, October 21, 2007

Super Taco

Well, after a year living at 95th St. and Riverside Dr. and walking by the place several times a year, I finally tried Super Taco—a souped up street-food operation parked outside of Gristedes on 96th St. near Broadway. Why last night and not before? Well, my date (that's right, I was on a date) brought it up in conversation and we were reasonably close, so I suggested we walk over for a late night snack. Honestly, I never stopped by before because there was always a horde of Spanish-speaking customers and a long complicated menu that I didn't want to take the time to read, but last night I was feeling bold.

In true form, once I saw that the menu went beyond the usual Americanized "Mexican" food offerings, I resolved to order the most unfamiliar item on the menu. At first, I thought that meant the goat taco, but no, there was something even more unusual—the lengua taco. If your Spanish is up to snuff, you already know what I ate, but for the linguistically challenged (that was a clue) I had tongue.

"Eww... Gross!" you say? Well, honestly this isn't my first experiene with beef tongue. One of the courses at WD-50 was pickled beef tongue, and, although it was sliced very thinly and artfully piled on the plate, it's rubbery, spongy texture was still recognizeable as were the filiform papillae—the little hairlike projections on the top of the tongue. You and I have them too, but on a cow's tongue, they're much larger and noticeable.

Getting back to Super Taco, this tongue was chopped into small pieces roughly a quarter-inch square. This highlighted its texture without making it difficult to eat. You knew you were eating tongue, but you didn't have to chew on it forever before swallowing—an important quality for street food. Two soft flour tortillas formed the taco's shell and shredded lettuce, chopped onions were added. From the self-service condiments, I added just the red salsa, but sliced radishes, green salsa and jalepeños were also available.

So, the verdict... I'd definitely go back. I'd like to try the goat or some of the more elaborate specials. The $2 taco was a perfectly sized late-night snack and a couple of them will make a still-cheap meal. The truck is parked on the same block as a Salvation Army donation center, so it'll be a nice treat after dropping off the clothes I plan to clean out of my wardrobe. And my date? Well he deserves the respect of not being publicly analyzed.

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