Can anyone guide me to the BEST burrito in the city?
Whoa... this discussion will be a painful one. First, everyone will tell you to forget burritos because our flour tortillas here in NYC have yet to catch up to the quality of the corn variety.
It seems that in Puebla, there may not such a term as burrito. There are many excellent Pueblan places which serve yummy enchiladas. But not burritos.
If anyone dares mention Tacocina or any of their relatives, please ignore the posting. They are wretched. La Paloma, off of 9th ave in the high forties, is slightly better.
Benny's (and Harry's) burritos are taste-free.
The place in Worldwide Plaza, and its sister on 3rd avenue and 33rd street, are almost as bad.
Burritoville is health food. Burritos are NOT health food.
Sorry I can't offer many positives... but at least you've been warned about the obvious Manhattan candidates.
Some regions to chow-explore (in Manhattan) include the upper east side near and above 103rd street, the "port authority" neighborhood (Dos Rancheros at 39th street is pretty good, and there was a promising looking place on a side street... oh, those sidestreets are all the same... and they each contain at least one solid ethnic lunch eatery) the lower east side, and morningside heights (but not anywhere that has been visited by a Columbia student).
Anyone for tacos? BTW, the 14th street taco truck put LETTUCE on my taco. Luckily, they understood "No lettuce! Please! Take it off! Arrrrgh!!"
re: Chris Armstrong
Since moving here from San Francisco, I have completely given up on even trying to find a good burrito in New York. It's just hopeless. It's more than the flour tortilla problem, it's everything that goes into it that's not right here. It's really odd, but no one can seem to duplicate the San Francisco Mission district burrito, as hard as they may try.
I'm a huge fan of THE KITCHEN - a tiny storefront on 8th Avenue and 21st St. in Chelsea that's one of the city's great treasures for hard to find Mexican staples. I don't know if what they call "San Francisco Burritos" are legit but they're filled with yummy things like cactus stew, roasted eggplant with queso blanco, and barley-corn salad. Chipotle puree and other extras are no charge. Takeout only.
Thanks for the responses. I do like Dos Rancheros, but they have the worst flour tortillas. They have a really good seafood soup, you just can't look at it when you eat it if you're squeamish.
I find the tortillas at Burritoville to be very tasty. Yes, the food is has a healthy slant, but it's pretty satisfying. Their green salsa is also good.
I haven't been to Benny's in years.
I've seen "mission" style burritos advertised, but I don't get the concept. Can you explain. The ones I've had here are usually on the wet side, and not too tasty.
I lived in Colorado for four years and I've experienced the same thing. While I was there I complained about bagels, pizza, and chinese food, but now that I'm back in NYC I know what bad Mexican food is all about.
The only place I go to is Bravo's in Park Slope (5th avene, a couple of blocks off of Flatbush--maybe Warren Street). Not Calexico in the middle of the block--Bravos on the corner. Their salsa is made with chipotles (!), although their chips are nothing great. They have the usual junk and the mole is too chocolatey but you can get a pretty good burrito ("mojado" if you like smothered--it's smothered in their house salsa and a little too much cheese).
Otherwise save your change for a Priceline ticket and go to Alexander's in Boulder, CO, corner of Arapahoe and Broadway...
Burritos aren't part of the culture of the Puebla guys running NYC Mexican places. So even good Mexican places hereabouts make lousy burritos.
But there ARE good mexican places. Castro's (511 Myrtle @Grand 398-1459) in Fort Green, for example, is not too far from Park Slope.
Hey, I liked your Boulder tip. We have a serious dearth of Colorado talk on our Southwest board....I'd love it if you'd leave some tips there (I'll chime in with some, too....you know Ras Kasas, for ex?)
I'm really surprised no-one's mentioned Desperado's on Amsterdam/109th. They make, in my opinion, truly
kick-ass burritos - by far the best I've had in
New York. It's a tiny little storefront, and they
don't have a lot of different choices. They serve
their burrito with tortilla chips and no salsa (you
have to pay for the salsa) and there are only two
tables in the place if you want to eat in.
The food is much more flavorful than say burritoville, and each ingredient is really explosive with taste - the rice, the beans, the grilled vegetables, the chicken (I'm told), etc. Even my girlfriend, an ex-San Francisco dweller, says they're among the best she's tasted.
I really hate to give recommendations on places I have not been to in a while, but there is a place on the Upper West (93d and Amsterdam) called Gabriela's. Nothing too fancy, and actually not great burritos, but they had decent everything else, and it seemed to me a lot better than the regular Tex-Mex fajita fare that you get in the 70-80s region of the Upper West. Has anyone been there recently? Just to boot the owner there seems like a real nice guy.
If you're looking for good Mexican food in New York, don't look for burritos. They were invented in the Southwestern United States by a much older wave of Mexican immigrants than the one in New York City. Most of the Mexicans in New York come from the Mixteca region, south of Mexico City, where burritos, if they do exist, are probably considered more American than Mexican. I recommend waiting for a trip back West to get burritos, and, for now, taking a trip out to Jackson Heights for some tacos.