If there was a quarter for every time someone claimed to bring “real L.A. tacos” to New York, we would all be rich. Sadly, many newcomers fall short in their grand claims of quality and authenticity. That is not the case at Otto’s Tacos, where California style meets New York quality and efficiency.
While Otto’s defines itself as a “grab-and-go taqueria,” staying to eat is a great experience for those lucky enough to nab one of the thirteen seats. For those in a hurry or unable to grab a seat, the staff will happily pack your tacos in a box that keeps them warm and delicious. Regardless of where you eat them, these tacos are excellent from first sight to the very last bite.
Otto’s serves five types of tacos and recommends that diners order two or three for a full meal. This recommendation seems about right for the average diner and offers a chance to try most of the items on the menu. Each taco comes with a choice of red or green salsa – with the kitchen recommending certain combinations – and guacamole can be added for 35 cents.
The carnitas taco comes highly recommended and for good reason: the slow-cooked pork is extremely tender and pairs well with the tanginess of the salsa. Equally satisfying are the steak tacos, which are made with high quality meat that has enough flavor to hold its own against the salsa and toppings.
Though this is not best place for vegetarians – and vegans should probably steer clear – the mushroom taco is worth ordering no matter what diet you follow. Best ordered with guacamole, the only vegetable taco on the menu is made with well-seasoned mushrooms that are chopped and sautéed. Not at all overcooked, the mushrooms have a pleasant texture and are as filling as any of the meat options on the menu.
There is definitely nothing wrong with making a meal out of tacos, but it would be a mistake not to order Otto’s excellent masa fries. Fried crisp and served in a paper bag with a side of chipotle mayonnaise, these Mexican fries are the perfect side dish. While the portion is enough to share, the fries are so addictive that you might not want to.
No meal at Otto’s is complete without an order of the fresh homemade churros. Cooked to order and rolled in cinnamon sugar, the churros are served with a side of sweet caramel dipping sauce. With three churros in an order, this is a perfect dish to treat yourself or share with friends.
Location: 141 2nd Avenue (bet 9th and St Marks)
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thu: noon to midnight, Fri-Sat: noon to 4am, Sun: noon to midnight