For this final post, I checked out the second, expansion location of a Sunset Park institution: Tacos Matamoros. I’d spotted this place on one of my earlier forays, and liked the look of the (non-taco) daily specials posted out front. So I hopped on an R train to 59th St. yet again and walked the couple of blocks to its narrow storefront on 5th between 57th and 58th.
A new roster of daily specials was posted on the door. Mole de olla! Pipián verde o rojo! Bistec encebollado! I felt lucky to be there on a day when all these things were offered. Then I looked at the menu, and saw that they were, in fact, regular items, priced exactly the same as always. But I’d come for the specials, dammit, so that’s what I ordered. Pipián verde, to be precise.
It was, I can state decisively, the best call I will make all day.
I don’t have a picture of my $11 plate (my willingness to make a fool of myself for this blog bumped up against the awkwardness of taking food pictures in a neighborhood restaurant packed with workers on their lunch breaks). I’m going to have to ask you to use your imagination instead: picture an oval platter with food arranged in broad bands, left to right, beginning with slightly soupy beans topped with fine crumbles of white cheese; moving on to orange rice flecked with diced (frozen) vegetables; and ending with two plump pieces of chicken, cooked until the meat falls off the bone, floating in a puddle of green sauce.
The sauce was completely new to me. It was also, I can state with reasonable confidence, the most delicious thing I will eat all week. It was thin, but not perfectly smooth – the texture was slightly gritty from pulverized pumpkin and sesame seeds. It packed a stealth heat. It tasted savory and spicy and herbal and mysterious, and if you gave me a vat of it and a spoon (or, better, some warm tortillas), I would happily spend a weekend with it.
I’m still a bit perplexed by the whole “special” thing, but needless to say, I’m not holding it against them. My fanciful thought is that someone at the restaurant denotes random menu items as specials to draw attention to them and give them a chance to shine (like a teacher rotating “student of the week” honors). In this case, they steered me well.
Featured in this post:
Tacos Matamoros II, 5717 5th Ave, Sunset Park, Brooklyn 11220