Taqueria Al Pastor first opened on Wyckoff Avenue in January of 2020, months before restaurants all over the city were forced to reorient their operations due to the pandemic. Not only did the tiny corner spot prevail, it earned popular and critical acclaim for menu items like its outstanding eponymous taco.
The al pastor taco (all varieties are $4.75) at the shop’s second location, which opened last month on Court Street, is also sensational. It starts with a house-made corn tortilla, structurally sound with an earthy aroma. The 5’’ flat is piled high with strips of thoroughly-marinated pork sliced off the familiar, slowly rotating trompo, onion and the ideal ratio of pineapple flecks to deliver proper pops of sweetness.
Like all of the tacos here, the al pastor overflows with generous fillings, and, after a few preliminary forkfuls off the top, their sensational shells are mercifully manageable. The excellent pork, like many of Taqueria Al Pastor’s proteins, is also available in several other preparations like quesadillas ($10.75), burritos ($15) and plated with rice, beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole and tortillas or chips ($15).
The fantastic fried fish taco is also a winner. The fish’s crispy exterior walks the line between delicate and dense with a deep-golden finish that delivers a satisfying crunch. And the chicken taco’s cubes of grilled poultry with some good char here and there, all topped with a nicely-textured guacamole that’s gently seasoned to let the main ingredients shine, slake lunchtime hunger with aplomb.
For the time being, Taqueria Al Pastor’s new location seems best suited to midday meals. For one, although a large, three-sided bar lined with backless metal stools is poised for the introduction of alcohol (liquor license pending), the restaurant's present drinks are soft. Its counter-service schema and bright interior also skew toward daylight hours.
When beer, wine and/or cocktails are introduced, Taqueria Al Pastor also has great promise as a bar. Its food stands alone, but expanding its offerings will be a boon. Its expectation-exceeding salsa, which has a gently-building heat that improves everything it meets, is already mighty tasty with house-made chips as a side or starter. With the addition of booze, it’ll officially become some of the best bar food on the block, by a mile.
The Vibe: Bright, spacious and inviting with plenty of bar and counter seats.
The Food: Outstanding al pastor tacos, excellent house-made corn tortillas and serious salsa.
The Drinks: Agua fresca, horchata and soda. A liquor license is pending.
Time Out Tip: Taqueria Al Pastor’s menu items also hold up well for takeout.
Taqueria Al Pastor is located at 119 Court Street and is open Monday-Sunday from 11am to 9pm.