No one can decipher an authentic taste of Mexico from the wannabes better than a native. Chef Juan Geronimo of La Fondita in East Hampton, a native of Acapulco, is always on the lookout for food reminiscent of his country. He has sharpened his knife in the notable kitchens of East Hampton’s Nick & Toni’s and Rowdy Hall, as well as East Hampton Point and Janine’s, and La Placita in Holivera, CA. He’s often in the mood for the flavors that remind him of the dishes his grandmother and mother used to prepare. Here are a few spots on Long Island that Chef Geronimo hits for those familiar tastes.
Taqueria Mi Pueblito, Hampton Bays
The space may be small but the humble kitchen sure knows how to win over a crowd. “They have great tacos, especially the al pastor [roasted pork]. It’s simple but delicious.” The steak, chicken, sausage, salted beef, spicy chicken, spicy pork, grilled beef and veggie tacos are also top notch. Go.
Taqueria Cielito Lindo, Riverhead
Nestled in the heart of Riverhead, this eatery is a local gem. The friendly atmosphere offers a range of traditional tacos, burritos and quesadillas. “The quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza [squash blossom] are amazing. They are a frequent special and are not an item you see in many Mexican places but they do it very well.” In other words: order a few extra plates for the road. Go.
Besito Mexican, Roslyn/Huntington
When diners are in the mood for a taste of fancy and impressive, Besito is the perfect choice. “I really enjoy the short rib tacos [made with roasted, serrano toreados salsa, mushroom and micro cilantro]. And I enjoy the touch of serving the homemade churros at the end of the meal; it’s great for kids!” The tableside guacamole prepared with hass avocado, tomato, jalapeno, onion and cilantro is another solid choice. Go.
Verde Kitchen & Cocktails, Bay Shore
Head to Bay Shore’s bustling foodie haven for refined Mexican fare served in a cool greenhouse dining room where peppers, herbs and other edibles line the walls. “The [eight different] street tacos here are great especially the pulpo ones with charred octopus, cabbage, crema and squid ink tortilla.” Any of the tortas (Mexican sandwiches) served on a house-made taller roll with chipotle puree, negra model mustard aioli, lettuce, tomatoes and avocados are also recommended. Go.