We’ve got a new rule here at The Infatuation, which really only applies to me, because I am the main offender: No more taco bitching. We’ve beaten that horse to death, and we’re annoying even ourselves at this point. The good news though, is that after years of doing it wrong, there’s a new crop of NYC taco joints in town that are doing it right. Los Tacos No. 1, Taqueria Diana, and today’s review subject, Otto’s Tacos, are all bringing some much-needed West Coast flavor out East. You probably won’t be surprised to hear us say that we like where all this is going.
Otto’s is a shiny new taco spot in the East Village with a very simple menu. They get the first review because we think it’s the best of the newbies, mainly thanks to their homemade corn tortillas. In true west coast fashion, they cook them up hot and fresh every hour of every day, and they’re pretty much perfect. The tortillas are then filled with your choice of steak, chicken, pork, shrimp, or mushroom, and the end result is simple tacos that are both highly delicious and priced right at $3 apiece. If you’ve eaten a lot on the West Coast, you will appreciate Otto’s for that simplicity and sensibility.
Speaking of Otto, he’s the owner. You’ll surely meet him when you come by, as he makes it a point to introduce himself to each customer and ask for feedback on the food. And while young Otto looks like he should be in a dorm room instead of a dining room, he’s running a tight taco operation. What’s even more impressive is that he’s just an LA native who felt like he and his friends were being underserved by the current crop of Manhattan tacos. He set out to fix it, even though he had no restaurant experience under his belt. We like people, we like tacos, and we like problem solvers. So yeah, we like Otto’s. A lot.
As we mentioned above, the Otto’s tacos all start with the tortilla. Some might get upset about their small size, but not us. We’ll take quality over quantity all damn day. There’s a no cheese policy here, as is standard with many West Coast tacos spots. The focus here is on the fillings: meats, mushrooms, and shrimp, which are complimented with a nice balance of simple chopped onion, cilantro, and a touch of spicy salsa. No frills, just awesome.
Fried corn strips made from the same dough as the tortillas. Yup, we liked these too. They also come with what is possibly the greatest orange spicy dipping sauce ever, which we’ve been known to dump on top of the tacos too for even more awesome.
If there’s one thing that falls a little flat at Otto’s it’s the guacamole. It’s not bad; it’s just not all that memorable.