Rockaway Taco (Rockaway Beach, N.Y.): A Surfside Start

You get an inkling that a place is good if everyone who finds out you’re going somewhere for the weekend says you absolutely have to eat there.

Friends, your hairdresseryour hairdresser’s wife. You get the idea.

So on my first visit to Rockaway Beach in New York, I knew there was one place I had to find and hit: Rockaway Taco  …

Now, this place turned out to be not hard to find at all once I got to the Rockaways. All you have to do is look for the long line of surfers and hipsters and this is what you’ll find …

Things are pretty straightforward at this tiny shack, which is just a block from the beach and home to not only terrific tacos but also good advice for visitors:

The menu is small — especially, if you’re there before 11. That’s breakfast time and this means chilaquiles are on deck.

We placed our order and shuffled over to the dining area …

… which is eclectic and awesome, yes — but far cooler than that was the reading rack it offered as well. Any seaside taco shack that has a well-thumbed copy of Michael Chabon‘s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” is a winner in my book.

And this was even before I discovered the cool seating at hand:

It’s fairly early on a Saturday morning, so we’re operating on serious Rockaway time — which means our chilaquiles take about 20 minutes to assemble.

But when they come, it’s clear the wait has been worth it.

The chilaquiles were crisp but just soggy enough in parts, from having been doused in tangy jalapeno-tomato sauce, and the baked egg and spicy chorizo patty rounded out the meal perfectly. With a few squirts of lime juice and some salsa from the bar, we were well on our way to demolishing this breakfast.

All too soon, the meal disappeared. And sadly, it was too early for lunch.

The tacos — those famous fish tacos — would simply have to wait. But we’ll be back, not to worry.

Rockaway Taco, 95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Beach, N.Y.; 347.213.7466; http://rockawaytaco.com/