Tacos Grand Central (153 East 43rd Street, 212-867-5545) sits in a narrow stand slipped in between a Subway and a Lotto & Scratcher store in the shadow of Grand Central Station. It opened just two months ago, a bright glimmer of Mexican food in a midtown dominated by burrito chains and the occasional immigrant-run taco cart.
Tacos Grand Central is run by a pair from a tiny township in southwest Puebla, Izúcar de Matamoros, and they present a streamlined menu of tacos, burritos, and quesadillas on a hot-line not much roomier than a cart on the street. Quesadillas meant for delivery are griddled with ample cheese, served with the trifecta of pico de gallo, guacamole, and cream. Vegetarian tacos ($2.99) with rice, beans, and cheese are loaded with sour cream, lettuce, and tomato, American-style; the meat tacos ($3.22), with grilled chicken, steak, or carnitas, eschew the salad and come with just cilantro and onion.
The carnitas is credible — a soft rubble of fat and yielding muscle, it tastes clean and flavorful. Hit it with the sole salsa on offer, a pastel salsa verde blended with avocado — it’s as green as spring with a persistent heat, and it gives early clemency to eating outdoors. Good thing, because taking it to go is the only option.