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NYC

Review

David Lee

Taqueria Ramirez

$$$$
David Lee

From the lines on the sidewalk, you’d think Taqueria Ramirez in Greenpoint was selling coveted chunky sneakers or square footage to add to your bathroom. It’s better: they’re serving some of the city’s best tacos.

Taqueria Ramirez models itself after Mexico City’s legendary spots, complete with colorful plastic plates, as well as a choricera and comal custom made in CDMX. The pacing and set-up of the restaurant feel distinctly like what you’ll find at taquerias in Mexico City, too. Even if the line snakes down Oak Street, you probably won’t have to wait more than 15 minutes. The Taqueria Ramirez team doesn’t bother to make their own tortillas (there’s not enough space and the price of the tacos would have to go up). Other than selling the occasional $10 container of al pastor, they don’t offer takeout (although we did once see a guy fill an empty pizza box with twenty tacos).

Taqueria Ramirez pretty much only does one thing, and that’s make exceptional tacos you’ll want second and third helpings of while leaning against a bar rail on the sidewalk.

David A. Lee

Their tacos - which all cost around $4 - range from velvety, shredded suadero and al pastor, to longaniza with bright orange porky juices. The suadero stews for long enough, around three hours, so the lower belly cut of beef can break down. But our favorite taco remains the tripa, which is blowtorched to order and has such little chewy toughness it might be unidentifiable as a cow’s stomach lining save for the iron-forward taste. Once they call your name for your tacos, dress them up with a slather of red or green salsa (green is slightly milder than red), finely chopped raw red onions, cilantro, and a hearty squeeze from a lime wedge.

If you arrive past 8pm, it’s more than likely Taqueria Ramirez will have already sold out of campechano, suadero, and tripa. Don’t stress. We got there at 9:12pm on a recent visit and still had a great time eating sopping longaniza, sweet-then-salty al pastor, and squeaky nopales.

The restaurant’s space only holds about ten people, most of whom will get to watch the action in the open kitchen from courtside seats at the counter. Otherwise plan on finding a spot to stand outside, while you already scheme the best possible time to come back for more tacos.

David A. Lee
NYC

Feature:

The New CDMX Spot About To Blow Up North Brooklyn’s Taco Scene

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Food Rundown

David A. Lee
Suadero

Imagine a cow. Can you picture its udders? Hello udders. OK, suadero is the cut directly north of the udders in the area between the leg and the belly. It’s a pretty muscly area, but the secret at Ramirez is that they stew their suadero for three hours in lard and warming spices. You don’t eat this meat as much as you let it melt into your mouth. It’s like velvet or meat confetti, and you’ll want as much as possible hugged in a fat-soaked corn tortilla.

Longaniza

The quintessential pork order here. The filling comes minced into crumbly pieces rather than ground (like you’d do with chorizo), with bright orange juices spilling out from the sides. We particularly like to add the spicy red hot sauce to this taco, since the meat has enough salt to hold up to the added chili rush.

David A. Lee
Campechano

When you have two very good things at your disposal, why not combine them? This is the philosophy Taqueria Ramirez enacts in their campechano, a mix of tender suadero and sopping longaniza. Feel free to apply it to your own life somehow, too. Perhaps with friends or various tea bags you find in your pantry.

David A. Lee
Tripa

It’s unrealistic to designate favorites at a place serving some of the best tacos in NYC. Having said that, know that the tripa remains in contention for first or second place. Taqueria Ramirez’s version has such little chewy toughness that it might be unidentifiable as a cow’s stomach lining save for the iron-forward taste. After it’s been stewing, the team behind the counter blowtorches each mound of meat just before they hand you the taco. Even if you’re not typically pumped to eat offal, give this caramelized, crispy taco a go.

David A. Lee
Al Pastor

The only taco here that’s cooked on a trompo rather than in a bubbling comal. Considering this pork and pineapple taco is one of the more common styles you can find in NYC, it’s all the more impressive that Taqueria Ramirez makes one of the better versions we’ve had. The pieces of meat are noticeably larger than what you’ll find elsewhere, like you put four layers of crispy pieces of pork through a gigantic paper shredder. And, of course, it comes topped with a thin strip of pineapple for that unmistakable pop of sweetness.

David A. Lee
Nopales

Taqueria Ramirez would be a miserable place to take a vegetarian. That doesn’t mean these cactus tacos aren’t fantastic for omnivores too, though. The nopales mixture is cooked ahead of time with big hunks of tomatoes, fava beans, and half-inch blocks of squeaky queso añejo. There’s an option to add chicharrón for more crunch and crackle, but we like it without the pork just fine.

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