11/23/15 8:19am
Jackfruit tacos are the new vegetarian thing. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Jackfruit tacos are the new vegetarian thing. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Before last week, I had never considered jackfruit tacos because I never knew such a thing existed. To be honest, I didn’t really know what jackfruit was. Turns out, it’s a tree fruit (the largest in the world!) native to South and Southeast Asia that has been quietly making a name for itself in vegetarian and vegan circles as a useful and potentially delicious ingredient. And jackfruit tacos do exist—at Toro Ironworks Kitchen & Bar in Greenpoint.

Chances are that if you’ve ever searched, “tacos near me” while standing on a corner in Greenpoint (you know who you are), you’ve come across Toro. Such is the case with me, as I’ve found myself in many a New York neighborhood not my own in pursuit of a quick and easy taco fix. The last time I was at Toro was a few summers back for chips, guacamole and a margarita, and I was surprised to walk in last week to see that the Tex-Mex menu was different than what I remembered. That’s because the restaurant’s ownership has since changed: a new owner took over the spot at the end of August and subtly changed the name from El Toro Taqueria to Toro Ironworks. The menu still revolves around traditional burrito-quesadilla-taco offerings, and there are some Mediterranean hints like a black bean hummus dip, but owner Sebouh Yegparian is also unveiling eccentric vegan options to appeal to a growing demand for meat-free options. (more…)

08/03/15 10:07am
A takeout smorgasboard from Taqueria Milear: Sopes, fresh chips, chorizo torta, taco with homemade torillas, watermelon juice, and guacamole.

We sampled a takeout smorgasbord from Taqueria Milear: Sopes, fresh chips, chorizo torta, taco with homemade toritillas, fresh watermelon juice, and guacamole. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights seems poised to become Brooklyn’s next gentrification hotspot, with hip new places like Two Saints and Colina Cuervo recently opening alongside the many longstanding Caribbean eateries lining this busy boulevard. Nothing against those newcomers, but with so many super-trendy spots already crowding Crown Heights, it would also be nice to see more new restaurants that are decidedly affordable, totally non-pretentious, and definitely delicious.

Enter Taqueria Milear, which opened on Nostrand this spring. This narrow, family-owned spot is pint-sized (there’s just a small counter and 12 seats), but it stands out for serving authentic Mexican cuisine that’s a step above most neighborhood taquerias, without being a step up in price. Delectable homemade tortillas–warm, thick slabs of cornmeal that will bear the weight of any saucy taco–are one of the main reasons Taqueria Milear is worth traveling for. Even super-sloppy tacos, like picadillo, beef stew with carrots, onions and peas, won’t make these bad boys fall apart. There are also more familiar taco options like chorizo and al pastor (spicy marinated pork with pineapple), and all are topped with onions, cilantro and cactus. An important note: For some reason, they don’t automatically serve everything with their homemade tortillas, but reserve them for those in the know. You have to request the homemade ones, and they’re a well-worth-it 50 cents extra. (more…)

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05/19/14 9:00am

If you ask me, Mexican food is one cuisine that just never needed to be modernized, updated or Brooklynized. New York is newly awash in Mexican eateries with organic ingredients, innovative cocktails and tiny, $7-tacos, yet for all the hijinks, food-wise none of these fancy places ever manage to best the humble taco truck. So I was stoked to discover a brand-new restaurant that serves unbeatable Mexican flavors, without anything gimmicky.

El Sabor Citrico de Mexico–just Citrico to friends–opened in Prospect Heights last month, and hasn’t received much Brooklyn buzz or media hype. But those who have stumbled upon it have been excited indeed: it has yet to receive even one non-five-star Yelp review. It’s not hard to see why. The bright and airy dining room on Washington Avenue turns out plates that are, presentation-wise, a step above the average taqueria, and taste-wise, up there with the best of them. (more…)

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04/29/13 11:23am

Dos Toros on Bedford Ave. offers build-your-own burritos and California-style Mexican food. Photo: Dos Toros

Dos Toros on Bedford Avenue offers build-your-own burritos and California-style Mexican food. Photo: Dos Toros

Cinco de Mayo may have started out as the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, but these days it’s mainly an excuse to eat tacos and drink tequila. So, lucky for us, Brooklyn has a host of new Mexican food options to choose from next Sunday, or before.

First up is Loli’s Taqueria, set to open any day now on 6th Avenue in Park Slope. From Jose Ventura of nearby Casa Ventura, the new spot promises simple, authentic taqueria fare, with–you know what’s coming Slopeians–local, farm-fresh ingredients. That means Shushan Valley Hyrdrofarm tomatoes, plus local cabbage, beets and carrots in tacos, tamales and chiles rellenos. There’s also Brooklyn Brewery beer and sangria made from organic wines and fruit. Loli’s originally set April 26 as its opening date, which has been pushed back a few days, but it should still be up and running in time for El Cinco.

Over in Williamsbug, hipsterville has said hello to two Manhattan Mexican imports. The first, Dos Toros, is much beloved for its simple take on California-style Mexican cuisine. The Bedford Avenue outpost offers an indie-fied take on the Chipotle experience, with choose-your-own filling taco, burrito, quesadilla and rice bowl assembly lines. Their meat selections, like braised pork carnitas are, it should be noted, a cut above Chipotle and served on fresh corn tortillas from Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens. Rosemary, lime and lemon berry sodas from Cup and Compass keep things Brooklyn-y, and for those of you celebrating, there are $3 cans of tecate.

Snack Dragon, an East Village favorite for late-night tacos, opened a taco shack in Williamsburg back in February on S. 4th Street. Photo: Daniel Broadhurst

Snack Dragon, an East Village favorite for late-night tacos, opened a taco shack in Williamsburg back in February on S. 4th Street. Photo: Daniel Broadhurst

The second taqueria to cross the East River is Snack Dragon, and just like its original location in the East Village, this Williamsburg taco shack is open late–4am on the weekends, 2am Sunday through Thursday. Its electric blue and orange interior takes some getting used to, but the tacos, not the ambiance, are what you’re there for anyway. Located less than a block  from Pies ‘n’ Thighs, Snack Dragon’s menu offers up successes like its Freshly Slayed Dragon Taco (pork confit with garlic and herbs, $5) and the Umami Taco (a Thai-style taco, again with pork confit this time spiced with coriander seed, tamarind and garlic topped with pickled cucumbers, onions, spicy peanuts and cilantro, $5). Don’t balk at the price–each taco is roughly the size of the paper plate it comes on, and both are served on blue-corn tortillas with black beans, monterey jack cheese and Snack Dragon’s own special salsa. Order at the window if you’re on the go; but if you’re staying, be prepared to teetotal with your tacos–Snack Dragon doesn’t serve booze.

Finally, new Gowanus BBQ spot Fletcher’s is also getting into the taco game. During lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, its wood-fired skirt steak and tr-tip will also be available in taco form.

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