I remember when I found out last year that Tacombi at Fonda Nolita wasn’t in my delivery range. One night I was determined to get my hands on some of their incredible eats, only to find that I lived two blocks north of their delivery zone. It might have been the most devastating phone call of my life and I even considered walking the short distance and waiting outside on the curb for the delivery man. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. Although an avid online customer, I had yet to go into the actual restaurant that people swear by. But a new year boasts a new apartment and luckily I live only a few blocks away from the place that once crushed my seamless dreams.
Gathering up a few friends of mine, I headed to this Nolita Mexican Mecca late Tuesday night. It was the perfect time to unwind, grab a few drinks, and eat some solid food. I started off with a glass of sangria that was perfectly concocted: not too strong but not too sweet, and the touch of pineapple juice really brought it all together. Their goal of evoking a beach-side eatery in Yúcatan was quickly accomplished, as the instant pick-me-up alone made me forget that it was a cold NYC winter. My group opted to start off with the classic staple of guacamole and chips, which, to my surprise, had a serious kick to it (mild lovers beware). But to anyone else that loves a nice backing of spice, their guac alongside fresh homemade tortilla chips will really hit the spot. The flavor assortment continued with their esquites, a traditional dish made of corn, lime, and chipotle mayo. The lime added the right amount of acidity to balance out the sugariness of the corn but never fought against the heat of the sauce.
But then came the time for the main spectacle I had been dying for: the pollo con mole tacos that had once trampled my spirits almost a year ago. They were almost everything I hoped for a more: tangy, sweet, with a perfect portion of hearty meat on top of an authentic tortilla. It was filling without being overwhelming, becoming hands down the highlight of the meal.
Their tacos truly transcended the bounds of stereotypical stateside Mexican eateries. And when your foodie companion who was born and raised in the country claims that “It was the best barbaco tacos I’ve had outside Mexico”, you know that this place is for real. To top it all off, the restaurant houses an amazing interior, complete with a vintage Volkswagen Van where a chef serves up your meals on the spot.
Basically you can’t beat this downtown joint unless you go south of the border. So if you’re looking for an genuine Mexican dish in NYC, a chill place to catch-up with friends, or are in dire need of post-work drinks, I don’t know why you would go anywhere else.
Tacombi at Fonda Nolita
267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012
-words and photos by: Banu Ibrahim