Lunch special: Wednesdays, get two beef enchiladas plus rice and beans for $4.25 or two fajita tacos plus rice and beans for $5.55
Sweet-ass wooden chair count: 50
Taco Loco Late Night Taqueria attached to the side count: 1
La Acapulquea, 5522 Columbia Ave.
I recently had lunch at Taco Diner in West Village. What a bunch of crap. My lunch cost something like $100 for three tacos served to me by some pastel dude. The ambience was all clean and new, and the waitstaff was so over-attentive that when pastel dude asked if he could get me anything and I answered, "Yeah. You could get me a rainbow made of bunny butts," I actually thought for a second that I was going to walk out of there with one. Sure, the people there were nice. Sure, the food was OK. But this is not the experience I'm looking for when I go out for Mexican food. I'd much rather pay half the price for half the service and twice the food.
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And that just happens to be La Acapulqueña's specialty. As soon as I set foot on the green turf carpet of the front porch that turns into green turf carpet inside La Acapulqueña, I knew I was at the right place. "What's that smell?" you ask? That's your Grandma. Apparently, she and the senior center group like to hang out here and have chats and sweat. I didn't see a ton of grandmas around at the time, but there was an abundance of leftover Nana fumes, so she probably left the place right before I got there.
I sat down and queso magically appeared at my table. At first I thought, "Sweet. They brought it to the wrong table. Free queso for me!" And then I realized that it was just free queso. I've never encountered free queso in my life, so this was really weird for me. I took a deep breath. I looked at the waitress quizzically. I hoped. I prayed. And then, the free salsa arrived. When the waitress put the bright green tortilla chips on the table with all the other free stuff, I almost lost my shit I was so excited. "¡¿Free green chips?!"
I looked at the daily lunch specials on the menu and went with the $4.25 for two beef enchiladas, rice and beans special. (When I go back, I'm having the $5.55 for fajita tacos with rice and beans special, which looked really good too.) My drink was $1.25, so all told I got out of there under six bucks before tip. And while we're on the subject of my awesome waitress, I should note that she probably said fewer than five words to me the whole time, and she only came back to the table to refill my drink and my free queso, salsa and chips. She never asked me if "everything was all right," because she knew it was tasty. What a BAMF. That's the kind of service I'm talking about.
So, Taco Diner, take your lavender uniforms and your valet parking and shove 'em up your taquitos. I discovered the land of free queso. And I'm never leaving.