La Taza de Oro
96 8th Avenue 14/15 Street NYC
La Taza de Oro fits the bill as a genuine hole-in-the-wall. It’s small, it’s old, nothing has seemingly changed in decades, and has a working-class clientele that comes in all shapes and sizes. I have noticed its name under “Best Buys” in Zagat’s for years, but wasn’t drawn here until I passed it one day and saw it’s extensive list of down-home daily specials in the window. Katie and I, and our friend Blair, came here for lunch the other day and had some solid Puerto Rican grub. All 3 of our dishes had the same ingredients in different formats – beef stew, shredded beef (ropa vieja), and pot roast. The portions weren’t huge, but were just enough accompanied by a large plate or rice and beans (white/yellow and red/black). It all had that lovely deep flavor, like it had been stewing all day, which I am sure it had. Mmmmm…I LOVE shredded meat. Our server hardly spoke English, and generally seemed confused, but that somehow added to the appeal. It is not a place to run out and try, but is a solid, low-end choice for the trendy neighborhood and provides a solid stick-to-your ribs lunch. It certainly does live up to its name.