NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 12:21 PM
The chicken tacos (left) and dried meat tacos (right) at Distribuidora San Marcos.
Today, the South Bronx is often said to have the best Mexican food in the city, and the streets around the Intervale Ave. stop on the 2 line are no exception. Here are three places to try when you’re in the nabe.
No more middle man
When it opened 11 years ago, Distribuidora San Marcos delivered Mexican pantry staples to other shops around the city. Though it’s kept the name, today its business is direct: Customers come for the tidy little grocery stocked with everything from chorizo and chiles to hand-cranked corn mills and earthenware bowls, and for the full-service restaurant that now takes up one side of the store.
The best seat in the house is at the small counter, where you have a view of both the street and the griddle where the lone cook builds excellent $ 5 tortas, hand-presses torillas to order ($ 1 more, but worth it), and stuffs the thick corn cakes called gorditas with cheese or pork skin stewed in red chile sauce ($ 4).
Many head straight for the hot entrees San Marcos Distribution makes each day: There might be torta de pollo, or light cakes of egg and shredded chicken stewed in a mild tomatillo sauce ($ 10 with yellow rice, red beans and hand-made tortillas), or on weekends, slow-roasted goat for $ 14 a pound.
Distribuidora San Marcos: 969 Intervale Ave. at Westchester Ave., Bronx; (718) 842-9504
Split the menu
Look closely at the counter inside pretty little Margherita’s Pizza, and you’ll realize the five-year-old restaurant isn’t an ordinary slice joint. It’s framed not just by Italian style tile commonly seen on traditional pizza ovens, but the red brick roofing tiles found all over Mexico.
In addition to pizza, chicken parm and make-your-own salad bowls, the menu has tacos ($ 7 for three with steak), quesadillas ($ 6.50 with grilled chicken), burritos ($ 8) and the shop’s best-seller, platters of nachos that get toasted to perfection in the pizza oven. (Fully loaded, they’re $ 8.50.)
Leonardo Marquez, the co-owner of Margherita’s Pizza, show’s off the shop’s Super Nachos and quesadillas.
Enlarge Go Nakamura/New York Daily News
The nachos at Margherita’s Pizza are toasted in the pizza oven.
The shop is run by brothers Leonardo and Juan Marquez, Mexican-Americans who spent years working in Manhattan restaurants before they took over the lease for a pizzeria in their neighborhood. Owning their own place “was our dream,” says Leonardo, who expects to open their second outpost — this one will have a patio, but no pizza — nearby on E. 161st St. in a few weeks.
Margherita’s Pizza: 945 E. 163rd St. near Kelly St., Bronx; (347) 597-4918
No space is wasted at Reyes Mexican Deli, where there are so many shelves stacked high with tortillas, beans, or hard-to-find produce that the small market is like a maze of Mexican pantry items. And somehow in the back — just beyond the wall where you can fill bags with dozens of dried chiles — a proper kitchen is hidden. (You place your order from the cashier’s counter, and take a seat at the bar stools by the window up front.)
The pancita soup at Reyes Mexican Deli is made with beef bones and tripe and slivers of squash.
Enlarge Go Nakamura/New York Daily News
Cheese sopes, or soft corn cakes, are topped with beans and cheese or soft potatoes for $ 8 at Reyes Mexican Deli.
That back room delivers a lengthy list of taqueria-style snacks like filling $ 2.50 tacos “placero,” filed with rice, jalapeños and a hard-boiled egg, or a trio of the soft corn cakes called sopes, just $ 8 when topped with beans and cheese or soft potatoes.
On these chilly days the sopas, or soups, are a must-order. What’s available differs by day, but options include pozole, made with pork and hominy ($ 8.95); or a deep-red, spicy pancita ($ 7.95), made with beef bones and tripe and slivers of squash and served in a deep bowl on a tray with hot tortillas, lime wedges and minced cilantro and onion.
Reyes Mexican Deli: 998 Longwood Ave. near Fox St.; Bronx; (718) 893-0039