Hot on the heels of Mi Viejito Pueblito in Huntington Station — the hole-in-the-wall taqueria that earned 2½ stars from Scott Vogel — comes another ambitious, authentic spot: Taco El Chingon in Bellmore.
Located (or, more accurately, hidden) in Bellmore Plaza, a little strip mall nestled into the corner of Merrick Road and Eastern Avenue, El Chingon is a spiffy little eatery, with a brisk takeout business and a handful of tables for eating in. The eponymous tacos come in nine varieties: asada (grilled steak), suadero (beef rib), carnitas (pork shoulder), al pastor (marinated, roast pork), lengua (braised and seared tongue), chorizo (spicy sausage), campechano (beef mixed with chorizo), shrimp and chicken. An order of three tacos ranges from $9 to $12, depending on filling, and $2 extra buys you handmade tortillas.
But tacos are just the beginning of a menu that also includes tortas (sandwiches on crusty rolls), nachos, burritos, quesadillas, flautas, guacamole and something called a machete, a big, handmade tortilla folded around beans, cheese and meat. At $11.99 the “machete El Chingon,” which includes three types of meat, is the most expensive thing on the menu.
Breakfast specialties include huevos rancheros, burrito stuffed with beans, eggs, tomatoes, cheese, jalapeños and meat ($8.99), chilaquiles (tortilla chips topped with egg, beans, cheese, crema and meat ($9.99) as well as scrambled-egg breakfast platters served with sausage, ham or hot dog and accompanied with beans, cheese, avocado, tortillas and rice or plantains ($8.99)
Owner Laura Lucero is from Mexico City but most of her recipes are from her mother’s village, Vista Hermosa, in the state of Puebla. She has fond memories of her grandmother making her tortillas from corn grown on her own land and ground at the village molino (mill).
“Chingon,” she explained, means “really terrific.”
Taco El Chingon is open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday to 8 p.m.
2809-A Merrick Rd. Bellmore, 516-809-9102, tacoelchingon.com.