January 22, 2011
762 Roebling Avenue
Trenton, NJ 08611
  • Cost: $$
  • Alcohol: BYO
  • Parking: Street
  • Take Out: Yes

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January 22, 2011


Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor

When you visit El Mariachi for Guatemalan food, and you should, go hungry. The portions are large. Delicious handmade corn tortillas are bigger and thicker than your average Mexican tortilla. An order of tacos (carne asada, lengua, al pastor, pollo) is easily dinner – three tacos, each with meat overflowing two of those large tortillas, served with a roasted scallion, sliced cucumbers, salad and avocado. The salsas on the table – green avocado/tomatillo, chunky chipotle, and a thin red mole – are fresh and very spicy. A plate of three white cheese-filled pupusas, covered with a shredded cabbage slaw, is the equivalent of four grilled-cheese sandwiches at most diners, and tastes better. The menu includes Huevos a la Mexicana, beef various ways, Chiles Rellenos filled with a ground beef and carrot mixture, and Sopa de Panza y Pata (beef tripe soup). Dishes range from $6 to $9 bucks each. You really can’t go wrong.

Located in Chambersburg, Trenton’s old Italian neighborhood, El Mariachi occupies a corner building that used to be the Italian restaurant La Gondola, which explains the large bar (but no alcohol), the mural of Venice, and the Italian map still hanging in the entryway. We went for lunch, mid-afternoon on a holiday Monday, and the place was empty. The restaurant is clean and spacious, with tables in three connected rooms. Service is bilingual, friendly and fast. The working class immigrant neighborhood outside is still a great place for ethnic food, but now it’s just as likely to be Central American as Italian.