The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
We thought we were inconsolable when we learned that one of our favorite Turkish restaurants, M and M Grocery and Grill in Farmingdale, had closed a few weeks ago. But consolation has come in the guise of El Paso Taco Grill, which has opened up in the vacated space.
El Paso has been serving up terrific tacos and other Mexican and Central American specialties for a decade in a modest storefront in downtown Farmingdale. (It's on Newsday's list of Long Island's best tacos.) The new location is more than twice as big, with a new kitchen and plenty of parking.
Rob Hernandez, El Paso's owner, had been looking to expand, and he was adamant that he stay in the neighborhood. "I moved to Farmingdale from El Salvador in 1981," he said. "We've become part of the town."
Hernandez said that he hasn't decided yet what to do with all the new space. He's thinking about installing a bakery, or possibly designating the westernmost area -- where M and M's grocery was -- as a restaurant with table service. (At El Paso, you order at the counter.)
When M and M closed, the owner left behind all the kitchen equipment, including the vertical broiler used to make doner kebab (gyro). Luckily for El Paso, this is the same apparatus used to make tacos al pastor, which are filled with spicy pork that has been slowly roasted on a spinning vertical spit.
El Paso Taco Grill sells tacos, burritos, tamales, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), baleadas (stuffed flour tortillas, pupusas (fat Salvadoran cornmeal cakes) and more. The new location is at 787 Conklin St., Farmingdale, 516-752-1872.