Carlitos Tacos has been on my list for quite some time you can find them in the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus New Jersey. Luckily you can also find them in downtown New York City outside the World Trade Center Oculus on Fridays in the summer (April to October) from 11:30 to 7 pm. My biggest regret right off the bat with Carlitos is that I’ve taken so long to try these careful crafted tacos. I am fortunate enough in my current position to have summer Fridays, and finish at 1 pm in the summer. I left New Jersey from Hoboken and took the PATH over. Getting off the train I admire the always lively, stunning and beautiful architecture of the Oculus at the World Trade Center.
After walking to the top of the Oculus I walked outside and was greeted to Smorgasburg, the awesome outdoor set up of vendors that takes place throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Carlitos Tacos can be found here apart of the World Trade Center Smorgasburg along with 24 other vendors.
Let’s get down to Carlito’s, I was greeted by staff with great energy and yes…actual handmade fresh tortillas being made right in front of my eyes with the soundtrack of the classic song Juanna La Cubana by Fito Olivares. All of the tacos at Carlitos are barbecue style tacos (as mentioned in the name) while staying true to a proper Mexican Taco. The store offers four types of tacos a brisket, chicken, pulled pork and the vegetarian option, a sweet plantain. The set up had these option sans the sweet plantain.
While the Tacos are a little more than the traditional pricing of $2.50 – $3.75, you’ll quickly understand the value with the jump in quality and flavor from Carlitos. I went ahead and ordered all three options available. I probably should have grabbed the Mexican Street Corn as well (Elote).
It’s rare what I’m about to say, but there’s really nothing I would recommend to improve on these tacos, they start right by making fresh tortillas in front of you. All of the meats are cooked to perfection the brisket has an incredible flavor profile, the perfect amount of spice smoked flavor. The tortilla is obviously very fresh, its cooked well, its light, made with a good blend of corn masa, it’s soft and doesn’t tear. Everything at Carlitos Barbecue Taqueria is consistent in flavor and how it’s prepared. The condiments are also amazing. As of 6/25/19 Carlitos gets Solid Taco Review’s Number 1# spot. Shout out to Martín and Fernando two of the owners on deck just killing it at the stand.
In addition to their Garden State Plaza location and WTC (seasonal location) Carlitos is also available for catering with a food truck.
- Solid Taco Review Score: 9.4/10
- Taco Price: $4-$6
- Location(s): Garden State Plaza Mall – Paramus, NJ – Food truck, World Trade Center Smorgasburg (Seasonal)
- Strengths: Passion in cooking, great quality control
- Other Things to Try: Everything! Churros look amazing
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