The classically trained and 7-Eleven camps meet at Taquitoria (168 Ludlow Street, 212-780-0121), a Lower East Side outpost that puts out the deep-fried rolled tacos known as flautas or taquitos, depending on your school of thought.
Taquitoria is in the tradition of the one-dish restaurant, a strange trend that has kitchens dedicated solely to rice pudding, chicken nuggets, or loaded potatoes. This one is a slim standing-room-only address, with a menu board, a galley kitchen dominated by a deep-fryer, and a couple of round counters, where you can hover over your paper carton of freshly-fried taquitos, three or five to an order ($5-8).
The corn tortillas are wrapped around proteins with provenance — Creekstone Farms beef, Bell & Evan’s chicken, Berkshire pork — though it’s questionable as to whether you can really taste the difference in a deep-fried, loaded taquito. No matter. The streets are dark, it’s 2 a.m., and you can eat with your hands. The purists will choose to have their orders doused in avocado salsa with a scrim of shredded romaine and grated cotija cheese, while those with a soft spot in their hearts for the revolving electric grills at gas stations will favor the cheesy version with a pour-over of nacho cheese, sour cream, and a pickled jalapeño.
Those in-the-know will choose a bastardized version with the toppings of both.
Scarlett Lindeman is a Brooklyn-based writer, covering the city’s best taquerias, fondas, and cantinas. She writes the ¡Oye! Comida column for Fork in the Road.