Layne Mosler's search for local flavor, as dictated by taxi drivers, started in Buenos Aires in 2007: After leaving a tango club (naturally), she impulsively asked her taxista to take her to his favorite haunt.
Now, the Taxi Gourmet is based in NYC, where her frequent cabbie-dictated meals have taken her from the Grand Concourse to Brighton Beach.
Here, Mosler's top yellow-cab finds:
Tangra Masala "It's too clean to call it a 'hole in the wall'...but there's a reason more than one cab driver has recommended the explosive Indian-Chinese food at this 10-table storefront in Elmhurst. Hot and sour soup, lollipop chicken and Manchurian noodles are (happy) shouts to the palate." 87-09 Grand Ave., Elmhurst, Queens; 718-803-2298
The Door "The menu at this white-tablecloth restaurant in Jamaica goes way beyond jerk chicken. Besides being cabbie Constance Barnes's go-to for goat curry, the after-church brunch and dinner spot serves up slow-cooked chicken, fish soup and a sweet, smoky oxtail stew with plantains." 163-07 Baisley Blvd., Jamaica, Queens; 718-525-1083
Cherry Hill Gourmet Market "The borscht and the fish soup--with big chunks of salmon, leeks, carrots and scallions--are worth a sit-down at this Russian super-deli in Brighton Beach. If you want to skip the upstairs café, takeout highlights include potato-battered chicken stuffed with mushrooms, stewed cabbage and 'Caucasian' salad with roasted eggplant, tomato and cilantro." 1901 Emmons Ave., Brighton Beach, Brooklyn; 718-616-1900
Papaye Restaurant "Jollof rice loaded with palm oil, cayenne and tomatoes and grilled whole tilapia are some of the Ghanaian standards at this corner diner in Fordham. Bring some Ghanaian beer to drink with your fufu (African dumplings made from cassava, plantains and yams)." 2300 Grand Concourse, Fordham, the Bronx; 718-676-0771