• DOS TOROS TAQUERIA • 137 Fourth Avenue • New York, NY 10003 • (212) 677-7300

• TRES CARNES • 688 Avenue of the Americas • New York, NY 10010 • (212) 989-8737 •

Tacos. They're a thing. Modern, chic tacos have taken center stage and pushed the old image of tacos to the wayside. Taco Bell doesn't sell tacos, they sell food that you eat while stoned off your gourd at midnight. Old El Paso doesn't sell taco kits, they sell a stereotype. They sell the food that dad makes to proves that he's more fun than stodgy, eat-your-vegetables mom. But times have changed. These days, tacos are made fresh. They aren't healthy, but they don't conjure up the same pre-diabetic images as traditional fast food. Gone is the hard shell. Gone is the dry ground beef and refried beans. Gone is the cheap price tag.

There's a taco cart that I walk past every day on my way home when I get out of the subway. It's fantastic. Fresh meat, fresh vegetables, a hot sauce that will put hair on the chest of a gorilla. Mere taco cart that it is, they still want three bucks per taco. So should I have been terribly surprised when I walked into Dos Toros near Union Square and saw that they wanted around $4.50?

Dos Toros and Tres Carnes. Upper-echelon, semi-fast food, quasi-tredy, taqueria mini-chains that compete primarily with Chipotle and presumably are less likely to remind you of that cruise you took where you got quarantined. I walked into Dos Toros for a late lunch, claimed a tall table, and dropped $20 and change on four tacos and a cheap can of Tecate. "Teck-AH-tay" the cashier corrected me. "Teckahtay" I repeated and sat down with my awkward plastic baskets. Two of the tacos were Carnitas - roast pork, and two were Carne Asada, aka, beef. The tacos, for all I just talked about how high up the fast food chain that tacos have climbed, were disappointingly cheap. They offered me guacamole, which I declined, but the tacos had diced tomato, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and the meat was, alas, sorta dry.

Tres Carnes is more Tex than Mex, and makes its tacos with smokey barbecued meat. Of the tres carnes offered, I tried dos of them, Smoked Chicken and Smoked Barbecued Brisket. "That Diet Coke won't do you much good" said the girl behind the counter. Truth be told, there wasn't much to taste anyway. Tres Carnes makes its tacos as though they're miniature burritos (there are burritos on the menu, too), and load them with rice and beans and squash. It's an interesting twist, but the tacos can't close so one bite causes them to fall apart all over the plate. The barbecue and beans keeps the taco more moist than the Dos Toros one, but the meat gets buried in there deep enough to be slightly lost. Tres Carnes isn't cheap, either. $9-$11 per pair, depending on the meat, and some fillings are extra.

Okay, so where does that leave us? Tres Carnes wins by a hair. Still, personally, it leaves me heading to the taco cart on the walk home.

Tres Carnes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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