It's just a scientific fact that in Park Slope, there's a serious lack of taco options. Sure there are a handful of places to grab a taco in the hood, from Oaxaca to Tacos Nuevo to that Jalapeno NYC truck that's been showing up on 5th Ave recently, but most of them are ultimately forgettable. With that in mind, taco lovers have been salivating in anticipation of 2008 Vendy Cup winner Calexico's impending move into the spot formerly occupied by Blue Ribbon Sushi.
While the wait for the Park Slope Calexico continues, this past Saturday another Vendy Award-winning taco purveyor quietly opened up shop in the neighborhood—Country Boys. They've been around since 1993 & as the winner of the 2009 Vendy Cup, they became the first vendor from the Red Hook Ballfields to take home the prize.
Since Red Hook's far & the Brooklyn Flea's become "too hipster" for you, Country Boys has decided to come to you, Park Slope citizen, taking over the space on the corner of 4th Ave & 16th St that was formerly occupied by J&R Restaurant.
It's a relatively small space, with seven four-tops and eight seats at the counter, which faces a fancy-looking espresso machine.
Earlier this week, I stopped by to grab a few of their tacos (of which they offer ten different kinds) to go. The menu definitely goes beyond tacos, with a breakfast menu ($6/$7), tortas ($6), cemitas ($6) & twenty or so dishes (mostly $9), but I'm sort of a taco fiend, so even though I perused the menu for a bit, my mind was already made up.
When it comes to tacos, I usually order three different ones and make it a meal. Their tacos are two for $7 or in my case, since I needed to have three...three for $11. Not sure how the math works there exactly but whatevs. I guess it's $4 for a single taco or something.
I'd forgotten just how friggin huge their tacos are. Not saying that my fat ass didn’t eat every last bite of them, but we're talking a good 6" corn tortilla PACKED with junk. Part of that was me getting "everything" on them--lettuce, pico de gallo, cojita cheese & guac--but most of it was the fact that they give you a TON of meat/veggies/fish.
First up was the Zucchini Taco, one of three veggie tacos (alongside mushroom & spinach) that they offer. While I tend to favor meat-filled tacos over the veggie variety, their zucchini taco featured copious chunks of flavorful grilled zucchini.
Even with all the zucchini & toppings, the tortillas held up quite well under the weight of its fillings.
To bridge the gap between my veggie taco & my meat taco, I went with the Fish Taco. Earlier, when I'd sat watching them prepare my meal on the flattop grill behind the counter, I observed a guy come out of the kitchen and hand off a HUGE piece of grilled fish, most of which got further grill treatment & went into my taco.
While fish tacos have pretty much become synonymous with a few slices of breaded tilapia, I definitely enjoyed having it in grilled form.
For my last taco, I went full meat with the Spicy Pork Taco, which is essentially my go-to taco no matter where I go. For me, a top-notch spicy pork taco has hints of crispiness & fattiness sprinkled amongst the general spiciness & Country Boys' definitely fit the bill.
By this point, food coma had already sort of set in for me, but I was determined to leave no pig behind.
With seven more tacos to try, I'm sure I’ll be back soon. Shit…I may even end up trying something non-taco. Word is the huaraches are the bomb, so there's that. Anyway, for the rest of y’all, RECOGNIZE...they’re open 7am-9pm seven days a week and if you live close enough, they totally deliver, which is kinda key right now, given the current TOTALLY UN-MANMADE EXTREME WEATHER.
Country Boys Restaurant, 586 4th Ave (at 16th St)
Read way more from Shawn at eatdrinksnack.com & eatdrinktaco.com.