When I entered El Jarochito on Neptune Avenue in search of what I heard were some of the city’s best tacos, my first thought was that I stumbled into the wrong business. The cluttered storefront — shelves lined with coffee cans, veggies, cereal boxes and other grocery items — didn’t look like any other taqueria I’d ever visited. I was just about to walk out and double check I was in the right place when I spotted an illuminated sign peaking out of an entryway in the back of the restaurant. Around the corner I found a small room with a menu, a few barstools and friendly cook ready to prepare my food.
El Jarochito, which means “Little Rude One,” came in sixth on renowned food critic Robert Sietsema’s list of “38 Killer Taco Spots in New York City.” The Brighton bodega, located right off Coney Island Avenue, was the only taco spot in southern Brooklyn to make it on the list.
If El Jarochito has any atmosphere, it could only be described as functional. The little bar stools pull up to a slim counter where you can watch the cook prepare your food. Other than that, there’s not much else going on. It’s a spot to chow down or grab food to go.
The menu advertises burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, sandwiches and an $8 shrimp cocktail that looked like a daring choice. But I came for the tacos and ordered one with carnitas (pork) for $2.50 and a suadero (beef stew) for $3.
The tacos didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious. Both the pork and beef almost dissolved like a stew in my mouth. They were served with onion, cilantro, a sweet green salsa and a grilled jalapeño that hops around in your mouth like feisty Jarabe dancer. But to be honest, I kind of felt like the tacos at Donut Shoppe, located on Avenue U, which landed on another list by New York Eater, had a little more flair.
Still, El Jarochito is definitely worth a visit — if only for the thrill of discovering the back-room taqueria behind the cluttered grocery shelves. Great for a grab and go chow. You’ll be satisfied.
Where: 195 Neptune Avenue, near Coney Island Avenue
Hours: 7:30am – 11:30pm, daily