By Ravi J. at 2010-09-19
Quasi hidden taqueria in the back of a bakeshop and Mexican grocery store.
Don't let the throngs of animal pinatas, bins full of sugary sweet pastries, piles of catcus leaves, stacks of colorful birthday cakes, and cases of Mexican coke and Jarritos make you doubt this place's credibility in dishing out quality Mexican food. It actually adds to the mystique. Go to the back, whip out your espanol, and ask to see a food menu. But don't get distracted; focus on the taco menu.
Tulcingo has a lot of items that other taquerias don't have. My favorite is the taco arabe, which takes its cue from the Middle East, layering chunks of slow-cooked shwarma-style meat, laced with an overwhelming aroma of smoked cumin, in a wheat tortilla. It is rare to find a taco arabe, even in Jackson Heights. (And if weren't for Atif I, who first highlighted the joy of a taco arabe after visiting Tulcingo's sister restaurant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, I probably wouldn't have caught whiff). The flavors, while unconventional, work so well.
And it is fitting that the taco arabe would be found at Tulcingo. Tulcingo's owners are from the namesake city in Puebla. Puebla is also the home of the taco arabe, due to the large Middle Eastern immigrant population. When in Rome, eat as the Romans do. Trust me: order the taco arabe.
Other items on the menu are delicious, but none surpass the arabe. The taco de nopal (cactus leaves) uses fresh cactus leaves, which distinguishes itself from other places that rely on the canned version. Simple de-pricked cactus leaves, charred on a grill and sliced in julien slices, arriving at a texture that has a little crunch on the outside and a warm creamy texture on the inside.
The taco enchilada or spicy pork is also good, albeit a little dry. For more superlative enchilada tacos, look to Bushwick's Taqueria Los Hermanos. Tacos al pastor (roast pork) could hold their own to the now M.I.A. cult food truck Tacos Guicho (where did they go?).
[A practical tip: if you search for Tulcingo in Queens, you'll get a few results. The name seems to be common. In fact, there is a taqueria Tulcingo around the corner on 83rd/Roosevelt and a similarly named taqueria in Corona. These are all different entities, so don't get them mixed up.]
By D. L. at 2016-04-12
This is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants en NYC . The food is que rico, yum, the staff is friendly and helpful, everything is made fresh in the kitchen including the pan dulce, guacamole, even amazing fiesta cakes !
By Sandeep G. at 2011-06-10
More like 2.5 stars, but I'm rounding down since I doubt I'll return since there are many options nearby.
The chips were a mixed batch. Some were fresh and crisp, but many verged on being stale. The salsa was slightly better than adequate.
They were out of barbacoa de chivo, so I settled for a chorizo taco. The meat was a bit too soft for my liking and wasn't really crisped up on the griddle, although the flavor was good. The tortilla was past the fresh stage and the texture was bothersome - not quite stale, but also no longer supple. It also hadn't really been toasted on the griddle, which would have helped considerably. I ate the filling and left the tortilla behind - a rare act for me.
The taco arabe was disappointing. I've had it at several other places in Jackson Heights and have never had a stellar version - but this one was the least satisfactory of them all. The meat didn't have much crispness on the edges as one desires from a shawarma, and it wasn't succulent. The seasoning on the meat wasn't very pronounced. The saving grace was a squirt of lime and the red chili paste that came on the side. The flour tortilla, while properly griddled this time, still tasted past its prime.
Perhaps my meal was lackluster since it was at 11pm on a Friday. But it was relatively busy in there so I was expecting more quality and
freshness than I received.
Some of the baked good look decent, even though I'm not a fan of Mexican pastries (they tend to be too dry). I was surprised to see large chocolate glazed donuts!
By Peter K. at 2012-09-03
So maybe I made a mistake when I ordered something other than tacos at a taqueria? But then again, if it's on the menu.. it's fair game right?
I ordered the milanesa de pollo (chicken) ... and it came as bistec (beef) instead. Honest mistake-one that I didn't mind. What I did mind was the the salad that came with the dish came overly pre-dressed for me. I also didn't like the flavor of the food - most being too salty (especially the rice and beans).
I'll give the tacos a try in the near future... but with caution.
By Wanda R. at 2014-06-11
One of the best Mexican restaurants here in Jackson Heights!!!! They have numerous around the area but here at tulcingo they have such great food! Take for example the Molcajete!! OMG! Simply mouth watering!!!! The tacos are so delicious especially the Taco de carne enchilada! The breakfast menu is great too! I recommend the huevos rancheros! When it come to dessert try the chocoflan. My son doesn't like to eat out but every time we come to this place he almost eats. The food is very homemade. The service is really good too and another thing I love about this place is that they sell Mexican products! what more can you ask for!!!
By Mika Z. at 2010-01-14
I order delivery from here pretty frequently (ususally on the weekends when I'm too lazy to cook). The food is cheap and they deliver at all hours and in rain and snow! Sometimes I call and the ladies on the phone have to transfer me to the only English speaking worker. Thanks goodness he's there! He's friendly and if I ever have a question about an item on the menu he explains it. Next time I order I'll take down his name. This location also has a bakery if you have a sweet tooth and there's a small section of groceries (fresh produce and various mexican grocery items & spices).
Here's what I've ordered, what I like and what I like not so much:
huevos con chorizo ($4.95) - my bf orders this
chilaquiles verdes con huevos ($8.95)
enchiladas suizas/chicken ($10.95)
NOT SO MUCH:
nachos texanos ($7.95) - comes with slices of beef but the beef was fatty, topped with melted american cheese (using this cheese was a surprise to me!)
tacos/beef ($2) - same deal here a little too fatty/chewy
tamales ($1.50) - pretty average, I have had better around the way
cheeseburger deluxe (6.50) - tasted like over cooked "Topps" burger patties
By Pinky And The B. at 2011-07-12
New Yorker's are so starved for Mexican food that we all want to be positive about the Mexican food we do have. But really none of it is great! I saw Ravi's review and with my Mexican food cravings I knew I needed to check it out. But I wish I had Ravi's stomach!
To be fair I tried it 3 times. I am intrigued by the Arabe taco. I looked it up. http://www.puebla-mexico.com/tag/taco-arabe/
Interesting. For some reason I thought it would be lamb. I associate Shawarma with lamb which I love! But it was beef. It was good but on the dry side. It did not blow me away. It had a unique taste for sure but it lacked something.
The first time I went I saw the pastries , and I just had dinner somewhere else so I got a chocolate donut. It looks better than it tasted. The donut was very stale and tasted like chocolate bread not a donut.
The cheese Enchilada was a big sloppy mess. The Enchilada was under a bunch of iceberg lettuce and a bunch of other mess. Then the cheese inside was not fresh. Maybe they have slipped since Ravi went because I know he has good taste. But I won't be back after 3 tries that were disappointing.
By Adriana A. at 2014-01-19
i work full time, im a single mother and i go to school part time, that being said you could guess i do not cook like never, i decided to try the tacos arabes after the reviews i read, they are amazing, mouth watering, since then i have tried numerous things from this little place. What i love: torta de jamon (the best around jackson heights), tacos arabes, tostadas, huevos con jamon, pancakes and you should defenetely give a try to one of their amazing cakes slices! What i didnt like so much: pozole and the huevos con chorizo, they dont use the real chorizo its more like an american spicy sausage. I had always order delivery and i have never had to wait more then 20 min which i love.
By V G. at 2012-04-30
I come here mainly for the rarities as mentioned in an earlier review...the taco de nopal and taco de arabe. The former is my favorite, as the cactus is griddled to perfection and topped with guacamole. The latter (albeit hit or miss with the meat quality) are smoky and served with a side of thick red sauce (not your typical, watery consistency).
Although pricier, a nice dish is the grilled chicken & nopal with green sauce. Also comes with a hearty serving of rice and beans, so it is a solid portion for $12. Understandably it may be hit or miss, but stick to the dishes with nopal and keep it interesting.
By Lynne S. at 2012-07-29
The taco arabe-not that I did a great job pronouncing it lol was tasty. Nice kick to it, but a few grizzle type pieces but the cats didn't seem to mind them. There is something fulfilling about eating cactus as well. Right around the corner from my crash pad. Recent health dept reviews not good.