MIAReview

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8.0

Tacos El Machine Gon

$$$$

2590 NE Miami Gardens Dr, Miami
Earn 3X Points

There is a taco rift in Miami. We have traditional Mexican tacos that are comforting and just what you want alongside a salty margarita after a long day. And then there are the "gourmet" tacos that taste like what it feels like to be at a confusing Art Basel show. Rarely do both types of tacos combine into one flawless experience, but Tacos El Machine Gon is one of the few exceptions in Miami.

Tacos El Machine Gon is a North Miami Beach food truck that sets up on a patch of astroturf adjacent to a gas station. Its name will make anyone familiar with Mexican slang (and Miami’s official language, Spanglish) chuckle. It’s a play on words that sounds close to “el más chingón,” which is a Mexican saying that essentially translates to: “the most fucking amazing.” It’s a pretty bold claim, but it’s not just overconfident marketing. The tacos at El Machine Gon really are los más chingones.

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The attention to even the smallest detail in every dish goes beyond any taqueria we’ve visited in Miami. They use blue corn tortillas that not only look striking but also add a pleasantly chewy texture to every bite you take. The meat fillings are tender, and not-at-all greasy. Even the horchata is made with quality cinnamon, and you can definitely taste the difference.

But contrary to what the farm-to-table folks will tell you, quality ingredients only take you so far. What El Machine Gon does with those ingredients is perfection. It’s like they’ve spent months in a lab engineering each dish, down to how many sprigs of micro cilantro and crumbles of cotija to add. Their signature dish (the tacos El Machine Gon) features a triple meat combination that has to be one of the most texturally satisfying bites in Miami: sliced steak, rich Mexican chorizo, and crisp yet puffy pieces of pork rind.

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But this place still delivers even if you don’t care about cheffy details and just want to sit under some string lights with generous amounts of stretchy, melted cheese. It’s the cheesy dishes, in particular, that make us love this place so much. Case in point: the costras, which we like to describe as a shotgun wedding between a taco and a quesadilla. 

That this food is available from a truck behind a gas station is kind of trippy. But it’s also a shockingly pleasant little dining patio, especially since you don’t have to worry about eating on the side of the road while dodging Real Housewives of Aventura. Since they are a truck that occasionally caters private events, it’s wise to check their Instagram before you go to make sure they’re open. If they are open, you can bet on a delicious and refreshingly stress-free eating experience. There’s a merciful amount of off-street parking (including some vacant spots in the empty car wash out front) as well as a mix of picnic and bistro tables under a canopy of string lights. We love everything about eating here—so much that we might just start referring to them as El Más Chingón. They truly deserve the name.

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Food Rundown

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Steak Costras

If you order just one thing at Tacos El Machine Gon, it should be a costra. We love the steak costras, but there are seriously no wrong choices when it comes to filling. These tacos feature blue corn tortillas wrapped around crispy logs of griddled cheese. As you bite through the chewy tortilla and crisp, golden-brown cheese, your tongue rides a wave of rich, meltiness. And then you get a flood of juicy marinated steak. Take a second to bask in the afterglow before realizing there is another costra and you get to do it all over again.

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Tacos El Machine Gon

El Machine Gon’s signature taco is phenomenal. The mix of steak, crumbled Mexican chorizo, and puffy bits of pork crackling make for one of the most satisfying texture combinations we’ve tried. The guajillo salsa adds smoldering heat and smokiness. A squirt of lime over these tacos (two per order) is strongly recommended.

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Quesadillas

El Machine Gon skips the single large flour tortilla in favor of three taco-sized blue corn tortillas, each stuffed with about an inch of Chihuahua cheese (no relation to the dog) and a mix of diced onions and jalapeños. The cheese ends up forming a crispy skin that gives way to even more melty cheese. A little bit of onion or jalapeño helps break up the richness.

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Esquites

This is the forkable version of Mexican street corn for those who don’t want to fight with an ear of corn. El Machine Gon loads up a cup with mildly sweet kernels that are the perfect vehicle for the avalanche of crema and sharp cotija cheese that tops them. A prudent amount of chopped jalapeño and a dusting of chili powder give it enough heat without making it too spicy.

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Hochata

This is the creamiest, richest horchata we’ve ever tried. It comes in a cute plastic bottle with El Machine Gon’s logo, features a perfect amount of real cinnamon (instead of acacia, a cheap substitution) and doesn’t have the grainy sediment you find in other horchatas. It’s like drinking liquid arroz con leche.

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