Slow-cooked beef, spooned dripping onto a tortilla that's been fried to a crisp in rendered fat — birria tacos are opulent in a very messy kind of way. They've also been slow to arrive here, after leaping like embers from the Mexican state of Jalisco (where they're often made with goat) to California, then to Queens via the Birria-Landia truck, which has been called the most popular food truck in New York City.
Will Right Coast Taqueria's new food truck in Holbrook follow suit? Open just shy of a month, the 26-foot rig has already become a magnet for birria seekers.
"There isn't a day that goes by when they're not the number one seller," said Rich Zoob, who with Dave Preisler owns both the original Right Coast Taqueria in Deer Park and the truck, painted in Technicolor and parked near the Holbrook Diner.
Birria tacos are not on the menu in Deer Park, which Zoob and Preisler opened three years ago, but the truck otherwise mirrors the full menu of its brick-and-mortar sister — Mongolian beef tacos, pupusas, burritos and the like, some made with corn tortillas from Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens.
Zoob said that in Deer Park, so many customers had been asking "when are you coming out east?" that the pair had been hunting for a second location — that is, until COVID-19 arrived. "We thought, 'who needs a restaurant with a dining room?' What we learned during the pandemic is that it's not that big of a deal for people."
It also seemed like the ideal time to launch birria tacos, which begin as beef chuck slow-cooked for six to eight hours with various dried chiles "until the meat is falling apart, juicy and tender," Zoob said. The tortillas for the tacos are then fried in beef fat, and customers are given a small cup of beef consommé for dipping each bite of their tacos. (Note: It's tricky in the front seat of a car, but doable; there are no tables at the food truck yet, as per town restrictions).
Birria tacos clock in at $11.99 for three, and a birria burrito is $12.99; other tacos are $4.50 to $4.75 apiece ($11.99 to $12.99 for three), while quesadillas, burritos, bowls, nachos and salads start at $6.49. Pupusas, or Salvadoran-style corncakes stuffed with cheese and beans or meat, are $3.29. Topo Chico, Jarritos and Coke holds the beverage line, and customers can order via a Right Coast Taqueria app, or at the window.
The truck is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, but later in the year will be available for private events, said Zoob. "This one has blown away our expectations," he added, so much so that Right Coast is already planning another food truck. Zoob was mum on where and when that one might land.
Right Coast Taqueria food truck, 950 Main St., Holbrook. No phone. rightcoasttaqueria.com