After a light breakfast at Russ & Daughters to whet our appetite for the day, we walked over to stop no.2 of the day, Fonda Nolita. On the way there, we passed by a familiar site; Café Habana! We came here last year; first time I had Mexican style grilled corn (& loved it!).
Several doors down, here we are, Fonda Nolita! The place has been fashioned out of an old garage. I think it’s safe to consider this is a hole-in-the-wall as it’s so unassuming yet it stands out just enough to make you wonder…(I think I made a comment to that effect when we went to Café Habana last year).
PALETAS?! Ohboyohboyohboy! I was starting to get really excited at this point. If anyone knows me, they know my love for la carnita…which serves up not only great tacos, but amazeballs paletas as well! (Unfortunately, when I inquired about them, I was told that they don’t have any.)
It was before noon so things weren’t too busy yet. I love the old beetles van in the restaurant! It’s actually a teeny kitchen where they make the tacos. :D
I got a little confused…so Tacombi is the front section of the restaurant? But the entire place is called Fonda Nolita? Either way, I want to eat here!
There was a lot of Spanish in the menu. For the most part, we were able to figure what the words meant although mystery ain’t bad either!
The menu is double-sided (drinks on the back), and quite straightforward. To place your order, you can either tell your server what you’d like or check it off on the menu.
Drinks. Horchata and Agua de Dia. One thing about the menu that’s super smart is the pricing. These drinks are listed as $2.76 on the menu. That may seem very odd. Until you see the final bill with the taxes included. $3! So convenient!
On the menu, there’s mention of some sort of Mexican style corn in the starters section. Corn Esquites ($2.76). This was nowhere near what we expected. But that’s fine, different can be good.
The elements in it are comparable to the version at la carnita: corn (obviously haha), crema, chili powder, lime, and Mexican cheese powder!. I really liked it! It’s smoothly sweet, almost like a dessert version of what I’m used to. It could use some more heat though.
Love the colours of this place! And the table’s like a backgammon board, so much fun!
Tacos time! (they come up to $4.5 each w/ tax included) I was so excited. This plate is the ceviche tostada. How will it compare to my favourite from Grand Electric?! It was very fresh, but I think it had a bit too much acid.
The fish itself was quite smooth and tasty…just a bit marred by too much acid like I mentioned just above.
Time for the Crispy Ensenada Fish and the Frijolitos Con Queso tacos! Almost directly comparable to the In Cod We Trust and the Crispy Avocado and Frijoles tacos respectively from la carnita. Andrew said he prefers our local version. ;)
More! At the bottom, the Al Pastor del Puerco (pork) and at the top Maiz y Poblano (corn) tacos. Each order, the tacos come with 2 freshly-ground, homemade corn tortillas. This was, they can ensure that the taco holds all the goodness (aka filling) well. It facilitated sharing quite well!
They’ve also got breakfast tacos too! Here’s the Huevos Con Chorizo ($4.50), super affordable!
Inspecting her taco, Vickie’s wondering how she’ll be able to keep eating, and eating, and eating. Haha She wasn’t originally going to order anything but was swayed by the menu to get an Al Pastor del Puerco.
Time to eat!!!
I’m really liking the filling to tortilla ratio. Pile it high please!
Tacombi. See, it’s confusing! Not sure what’s what…Along the kitchen, they’ve got boxes and boxes of beer.
Shortly after we arrived, the lunch rush was on and a line quickly formed. The entire trip, we were always lucky enough to sneak a table just before the places got packed. I think the only sit-down meal that we had to wait for was Day 2’s dinner, at Ken & Cook.
The skylight provides great natural light to the restaurant, complimented by strings of Christmas lights. LOVE IT!
A better look at the VW van. It’s like a stationary food truck. I wonder how the counter space compares…dare I say it’s even smaller?
Another look at the van. SO CUTE!
MEAT on the grill!! How mouthwatering does that look?
I don’t recall seeing watermelon in any offering on the menu..?
As you can see (if you squint a bit), with the tax included, the price of each item came up to rounded numbers, which is really to tip!
Just off of East Houston, we saw two artists painting a mural. Love the colours! Is there a book out there for NYC (and Toronto too, while we’re at it) street art, graffiti, and wall murals?! I’d love a peak into that and then a hunt around the city to find them.
Verdict: In short, I expected to have a fun time, and I really did! It’s not quite a hole-in-the-wall, not quite a dive… Our lunch here was really enjoyable, it’s like they thought of everything so all you have to do is . Authentic Mexican, I love how they corrected my pronunciation of several words! :D I can’t wait to come back.
Check ‘em out! http://www.tacombi.com/
5 out of 5 NOMs