Taquitos from Taquitoria (168 Ludlow Street, 212-780-0121)
This San Diego specialty is good for a quick bite — and it’s better for quelling drunk munchies than a sloppy slice of pizza.
When Barry Frish, Matthew Conway, and Brad Holtzman left Marc Forgione’s kitchens and dining rooms, the trio didn’t team up to unveil a new fine dining concept in the Big Apple. Rather, they rolled out Taquitoria, a fast-casual shrine to the crispy rolled tacos stuffed with beans or meat that are ubiquitous in southern California but virtually unheard of here, save for the freezer cases at your local bodega. Extensive research led the guys to their ultimate recipe, fine-tuned for just the right amount of crunch, spice, and filling. We’re partial to the black bean version–the legumes are both hearty and smooth, spiked with pepper and an ideal vehicle for the guac, shredded lettuce, salty cotija cheese, and spicy red sauce the taquitos are served with. The guys dole out their treats fried-to-order in three-for-$5 or five-for-$8 batches; the former is good for a light lunch or a late-night snack (Taquitoria is open until 4:30 a.m.), while the latter is enough for dinner.
By the way, if you’re having people over to watch football, you might consider splitting an order of buffalo chicken taquitos, which run $75 for 40. Filled with tender, bloody-mary-marinated poultry and served with copious amounts of house-made buffalo sauce and blue cheese, these rolls are like a compromise between hot wings and nachos that won’t make you feel like you’re sacrificing. Just make sure you plan ahead: You have to pre-order this large-format feast by 8 p.m. on Friday for a Sunday game.