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Otto's Tacos
Decor inspiration comes on the side.
Melissa Murphy

Tacos are magic--however you stack ?em. And we finally feel like we?ve amassed a solid list of go-to Mexican spots around here. (La Esquina and Empellón, may you never leave us.) But let?s be honest: We just can?t compete with our friends to the west.

That is, until now. Get your mitts on Otto?s Tacos.

Opened by two L.A. natives, the namesake Otto Cedeno and his chef buddy, Joe LoNigro, the menu is basic yet pure: five choices of fillings (carne asada, pork carnitas, chicken, shrimp and mushroom) piled inside handmade corn tortillas (pressed right in front of you) and topped simply with cilantro, tomatillo and such.

But as fresh and juicy as the main events are, the real showstopper is a side dish--the masa fries.

Don?t worry if you?ve never heard of them; they?ve never existed before. The team uses the same dough as the tortillas but rolls it out slightly thicker. They slice it up and toss the pieces into the fryer. The result: spongy little strips that look and feel just like French fries, just coarser in texture and earthier in flavor. Dip them in spicy chipotle mayo and never utter the phrase ?there?s no good Mexican food in New York? again.

Otto?s Tacos, 141 Second Ave. (at Ninth St.); 646-678-4018 or

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