El Paso Taco Grill in Farmingdale has long been one of our favorite spots for tacos. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s also the closest good taqueria to Newsday.) For a while it was all about the lengua (tongue) but lately I’ve been grooving on the tacos al pastor.
A true taco al pastor is made from pieces of pork that have been marinated and then stacked and roasted, gyro-style, on a rotating vertical column in front of a heat source. A peeled pineapple is traditionally placed atop the column of pork so that its juices drip onto the roasting meat. When a taco is ordered, the grill man uses a long sharp knife to carve off some pork and some pineapple, placing them into a warm tortilla along with onions, cilantro and a squirt of lime.
Here in El Norte it’s not easy to find a spit-roasted pastor; most places, like El Paso, cook the marinated pork on a flat-top, some garnish with pineapple.
There’s no pineapple in evidence in the pastor at El Paso but the pork is so delicious you don’t miss it. The pork is marinated and sauced with guajillo peppers, dried chilies that are smoky, sweet and hot and just taste like darkness. Nicely offset by cilantro and thinly sliced radish.
El Paso Taco Grill is at 505 Conklin St., Farmingdale, 516-249-3600.