Taqueria Lower East Side’s Carnitas, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes


Later this year, we’ll pen our Best of New York issue, our annual love letter to what’s great in this town. When that paper hits the streets, you’ll find our picks for the very best this city has to offer when it comes to dozens of cuisines, restaurants, dishes and drinks. Until then, you can get a taste of our contenders as we count down, in no particular order, our 100 favorite dishes from around the boroughs, a list of laudable eats worth tracking down right now.

#100: Carnitas from Taqueria Lower East Side

Movie posters, Lakers paraphernalia and Mexican kitsch dominate every square inch of wall space in this hallway-sized Los Angeles-style taqueria on Orchard Street where the noise from the crowd can escalate into a brain-thumping din. Take the edge off with a margarita and dish of chunky guacamole, and then ask for the carnitas, which make the room fade away entirely. A carnitas taco comes piled liberally with hot, peppery pig that’s been slow-cooked into tender strands and crisped around the edges. Each bite renders a cascade of velvety pork juice, which blends with tart lime, the snap of piquant onions and fresh cilantro in a soft corn tortilla. For more pork, opt for the tostada, which supplements the carnitas with ripe avocado, salty queso fresco, a drizzle of crema and a pile of lettuce on a crunchy flat corn shell.

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