The other day I had a craving for tacos. Not just your ordinary, ground beef tacos but authentic Mexican lengua (beef tongue) tacos. At first you may think “you want me to eat beef tongue?!” Well, yeah, I do. If cooked right, beef tongue can be extremely tender and delicious, so keep an open mind and take a chance. It’s totally worth it!
A friend of mine recommended TacoSon on 56th street as a likely place to sate my taco needs. So my wife and I drove the 30 mins from our home to a fast food restaurant style building, complete with a drive through window. Fortunately, when you walk in you are pleasantly surprised by the friendliness, cleanliness, and quaint feel of the place. There is an eclectic blend of decorations everywhere, but my favorite has to be the walls themselves. They’ve painted the walls in such a way that they really do resemble worn, weathered bricks, tricking the brain into looking two or three times to be one hundred percent sure they’re not. The longer you sit there peering around at all the odds and ends hanging from the walls and ceiling, the more details catch your eye, blending together to create a feeling of being in a small mom and pop restaurant in a Mexican village.
TacoSon offers not only the lengua taco option, but also the usual beef, chicken, or pork. As lengua is one of my flat out favorite meats in Mexican fare, I decided to try TacoSon’s version. The beef tongue was so soft I could literally pull it apart with my pinky fingers. If you’ve never had beef tongue before, the closest thing I can think of for a flavor is a mild roast beef with a hint of black licorice. I ordered the two taco, rice, and refried beans platter. Even with a large line of customers, our food came out in under ten minutes, and when it arrived, I had a big smile on my face. The tacos were hefty, with oodles of large cubes of lengua accompanied by plentiful toppings: minced onions, diced tomatoes, shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, and the traditional lime to squeeze over the top of everything. The rice wasn’t oily but kept a touch of the oil’s corn flavor, while the beans were your typical refried beans. If you need a low sodium diet, this isn’t the meal for you as both rice and beans were liberally season with salt (much to my wife’s delight as she heavily salts her food.) The portions were just the right amount of food to leave me full and satisfied. The taco platter starts at $6.99, so it was affordable, too.
In addition to selling their tacos, TacoSon also offers burritos, quesadillas, tamales, and more. My wife and I split a tamale, which was the surprise winner of the meal. I’m always trying tamales but rarely find one I thoroughly enjoy. Some are ok, some are dried out, and some are just plain bland. TacoSon offers something I’d never tasted before: a roasted pineapple tamale. It’s your usual tamale wrapped in a yellow corn husk, but with roasted pineapple baked in. You find shades of the pineapple juice that has bled off the pineapple chunks lurking in the center of the tamale, waiting to found like buried treasure in the sands of a tropical island. I would most certainly list this particular tamale as a “must-order.” If you’re feeling peckish for Mexican, make the drive to TacoSon and chew, chew, chew your way to a happier you.