Early this year, Taqueria Tehuitzingo (578 Ninth Avenue, 646-707-3916) opened an offshoot of its Tenth Avenue bodega in a diminutive stall on Ninth. The splashy font of signage catches the eye of travelers pouring out of Port Authority, filling the spot’s five tiny tables for post-expedition plates of ripe guacamole ($6) and Mexican Coke.
Burritos ($8), nachos ($8), fajitas ($9), and enchiladas ($8) fall, somewhat strangely, into the antojitos category, usually reserved for masa-based snacks like sopes and huaraches. Don’t let the impressive taco filling line-up, seventeen selections in total, pull your attention away from the rest of the menu. Carnitas were dry and stringy, the bistec frizzled to toughness, the potato with jalapeños simultaneously bland and burning.
There are appealing items, though. In the soup section, there is a chilate de pollo ($9) in an angry red broth with vegetables bobbing throughout, and a guasmole de rez ($9), a beefy potage with ground guaje seeds stirred in. The lesser-known pambazo ($7), a chile-soaked potato and chorizo sandwich, waits among the sandwiches. The platters ($9) are heavy with rice, beans, and tortillas, and feature pork ribs in a green adobo or a mildly sweet mole poblano in which cinnamon carries most of the spice. The enchiladas rojas appear in a sultry, rust-hued sauce that numbs the lips with dried and fresh chiles.
“You want it to be spicy?” asked the cashier, shooting a Larry-David style stare over the counter. “Are you sure?” Return his skepticism with a firm “yes” and happily dig in.
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.