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El Cozumel on 26th St in, um, North Sunset Park

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Last night, while doing laundry, I decided to stroll south along 4th Avenue, and I stepped into this cute little place that I've often spotted from my car but never tried.

The waitress handed me a menu that featured the usual diner options including souvlaki, spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes, etc...but I knew the focus was on Mexican food. There is a small section of the menu devoted to Mexican stuff.

Everyone's food looked great, in particular the quesadillas de flor de calabaza. I was told by the owner that they take 20 minutes to make (from scratch) and being in a hurry, I just ordered a burrito. I would never order a burrito in a Mexican place in Sunset Park, but I trusted this guy for some reason.

The burrito, while not very authentic, was nonetheless wonderful. It was made with care and love, unlike almost any other Mexican food I've tried between Atlantic Avenue and, oh, 48th Street. The thing was so perfectly layered, proportioned, each ingredient tasting fresh and distinct. Cojita cheese, cilantro, "beefy" tasting beef, and a nice amount of tasty guacamole. Their rice is white, not annato-ized orange stuff, but flavorful, another indication that the guy does things his own way.

I'm looking forward to trying those quesadillas, and maybe if folks around here start to patronize this place they can ditch the "Dream Cafe" diner menu and concentrate on what they really want to do. There was a kind of Viko (from La Flor in Woodside) vibe in the air--although unlike La Flor, this place isn't starting out all that ambitiously.

NB, I'll bet that the food isn't as good if the main cook/owner isn't around.

El Cozumel
782 4th Ave (at 26th Street)

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  1. Maybe the burrito wasn't authentic because that's not really Mexican food - it's really a Tex-Mex innovation (although the best are now made in California). In any case, I've been wondering about that place and plan to check it out sometime - thanks for the tip.

        1. LOL. I went back for lunch, and had mixiotes de pollo, and it too was delicious. Very flavorful lardy beans, chicken steamed in foil in a spicy red sauce. Maybe a new world version of a banana leaf...but it sure was a good cheap meal. The rice was orange this time. People who eat at Taqueria D.F. should check this place out.