>> Eat the World NYC

18 February 2021

El Divino Rostro

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
(BAJA CALIFORNIA)

COVID-19 UPDATE: Food trucks are perfect pandemic eating, with minimal human contact
and no indoor dining.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

A handful of new taco trucks are springing up in south Brooklyn, and El Divino Rostro is the most exciting of them... so far. While their competitors share more or less the same menu, El Divino Rostro has taken note of the success of Jackson Heights/Williamsburg truck Birria-Landia and Bushwick’s Nene’s Deli Taqueria, and are specializing in stewed beef birria. This is a meat that has long been common in Los Angeles, popularized by the mini-empires Teddy’s Red Tacos and Birrieria Gonzalez, but is now (finally) becoming more readily available in New York City.

Tacos de birria de res ($2.50 each) are the classic preparation, with the stewed beef sitting atop tortillas that have been dunked in broth as well. Not only does this leave the tortilla red, but plates, hands, and napkins by the end of any meal. El Divino Rostro’s birria is fatty, rich, and nicely balanced, with none of the spices dominating any of the others. The "plain" taco is a good chance to try it on its own. The quesotaco ($3.50) takes this preparation a step further, melting cheese on the red tortilla before adding the meat. Both are best eaten with a side of cilantro-and-onion-specked consomé ($6) for dunking, leaving everything even more red and delicious. The consomé is ambitiously priced, but during a recent visit was offered for free in the context of a full dinner order. Drowned in the liquid was enough extra meat for two more tacos.


Also on the menu is the rarely-seen-in-NYC mulita, as well as more standard fare like tortas and tostadas. The burrito de birria de res ($9) is almost all meat, barely glazed with beans and rice, and cut with fresh onion and avocado. El Divino Rostro’s salsa roja packs a solid punch, and you definitely won’t go wrong giving the burrito a dip in the consome before adding the salsa. There are other meat options as well: chicken, steak, and chorizo. All are presumably worth a try during future visits.

As with so many NYC taquerias and Mexican food trucks, El Divino Rostro’s proprietors are from Puebla, but they have been quick studies in this traditionally Tijuanense dish. You will wonder, eating their birria, if the New York food scene could soon be home to more, for instance, Oaxaqueño restaurants. Or Yucateco. Regardless, this truck is a fantastic addition to local Mexican food offerings, and promises great things to come as the city opens up more vendor permits and reduces police involvement in ticketing street vendors.

After some issues with parking, El Divino Rostro has established a (hopefully) permanent location on 86th Street at the corner of 21st Avenue. They plan to be open every evening, with hours somewhat variable. You can call ahead before visiting (or to make an order for pickup or delivery) at (347) 866-7479.

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Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

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13 February 2021

Nueva Puerta del Sol

EL SALVADOR 🇸🇻

COVID-19 UPDATE: Puerta del Sol’s Bay Ridge Avenue location has tented outdoor dining, while Nueva Puerta del Sol on 18th Avenue is open for takeout and delivery only. You can order online directly from their website.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

The Salvadoran pupusa is one of those perfect foods like burritos or a Trinidadian roti wrap that combine a little bit of everything into one nutritious bundle. Some carbohydrates, a little protein, some vegetable, crafted to add up to more than the sum of their parts. These super foods are what hamburgers aspire to be, without the part afterwards where you go straight to bed in a cholesterol haze.

Nueva Puerta del Sol’s pupusa loca ($12, below) is an unusual dinner-plate-size version of the classic pupusa, and combines a little bit of all the normal fillings, and then some: refried beans, cheese, zucchini, spinach, carrot, chicharrón, and loroco, the Central American bud and flower that is common in Salvadoran cooking. The toppings are sandwiched in a thin masa pancake, and the pupusa is then grilled until brown. The cheese as usual melts nicely into a solid crust as it oozes out of the masa.


Though Puerta del Sol’s pupusa itself is novel primarily for its size and variety of its fillings, you might also find yourself with a higher-than-usual ratio of curtido-to-pupusa, with the crunch and tang of the pickled cabbage cutting nicely through the rich base. Top that with your dash of tomato salsa, and this is a pupusa to remember.
 
Besides pupusas, Puerta del Sol also offers a scattering of Mexican and Italian dishes, as well as a full menu of Salvadoran dishes. A tamal de elote con crema ($3, below) is a simple sweet corn tamal served with a side of rich crema. The sweet and savory contrast beautifully, and the straight-forwardness of the corn flavor stands out nicely next to the complex flavors of the pupusa.


Nueva Puerta del Sol is in a particularly vibrant section of diversifying 18th Avenue. On one corner handpulled noodles, on the other a great old Bensonhurst Italian bakery, Villabate Alba. Within blocks are hotpot restaurants, Malaysian, Thai, Guatemalan, Albanian, and much more. 
 
This is one of the most interesting sections of Brooklyn, and Salvadoran cuisine is a welcome addition to the mix.

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Puerta del Sol:

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Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

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08 February 2021

Chawlas2

INDIA 🇮🇳

COVID-19 UPDATE: Chawlas2 is takeout only for the moment, but there is a triangle park on the same block with convenient benches for would-be outdoor diners. You can also order online through their website.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Chawlas2 is not the second of two restaurants, as you might guess from the name, but is rather the first US outpost of a chain that started in 1960 in Uttar Pradesh, a province in northern India near Punjab. The location is somewhat inauspicious, at the far edge of Queens near JFK. Despite the cars whizzing by on Rockaway Boulevard, the restaurant draws repeat diners from the neighborhood and across Brooklyn and Queens.

Chawla’s signature dish cream chicken ($11.99, below) is a variation on butter chicken, with the gravy bolstered by cream and green cardamon, and all the red parts omitted. The seasoning is sublime, and a nice contrast to the usual over-the-top fireworks of Indian flavor profiles. It goes best with plenty of naan or rice.



Speaking of naan, keema naan with gravy ($7.49) is a real standout from the sides menu. The naan is stuffed with seasoned ground chicken and served with a container of mutton gravy. There’s no chunks of meat in the gravy, but the flavor leaves no doubt that sheep were involved in the preparation.

Also on the sides menu are several chaats, Indian and Pakistani snacks that combine various contrasts: hot and cold, sweet and tangy, soft and crunchy. Chawla’s samosa chaat ($6.49, not shown) is a strong rendition of a great dish, with chopped-up samosas topped with chickpeas, potato, yoghurt, and the dueling chutneys of mint and tamarind. Pani puri are off the menu for the moment, presumably because they lose their crunch in takeout form, but papri chaat ($6.49, below) fills in nicely, with the samosas replaced with fried crackers.



There is a range of tandoori items, and both meat and vegetable curries, though vegetarians in the neighborhood might be better off down the block at Satguru Sweets, which has a full menu of veggie items. Chawlas’ chili mushrooms ($10.99, above) reflect Uttar Pradesh’s proximity to the borders with Nepal and Tibet, with the chili gravy more reminiscent of familiar Chinese dishes than most Indian food.

Chawlas2 is just off the Van Wyck Expressway, on a three-block stretch of businesses that includes four Indian restaurants, a Guyanese restaurant, a Guyanese-Chinese restaurant, two Jamaican restaurants, a Chinese-Thai-Indian restaurant, and more. Stop at Chawlas2 for the cream chicken and keema naan, and then maybe add a dish or two from one of the other restaurants down the block. The connections built between peoples by geography and immigration are present in the menus, and we very are privileged in New York to have access to all of these cuisines in such close proximity to one another. Maybe dropping your friend off at JFK doesn’t have to be such a chore after all.

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Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

01 February 2021

DOUGH by Licastri

USA 🇺🇸🍕

COVID-19 UPDATE: Though primarily a takeout joint, DOUGH by Licastri has an outdoor deck that remains open for warmer days.
 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Staten Island pizza is commonly cited but rarely appreciated in full by New Yorkers from the other four boroughs. Though challenging without a vehicle, diners that make the drive (or subway/bus/train ride) are often rewarded with pies that are as billed: as good or better than your average pie from Brooklyn or points further afield.
 
Many Staten Island pizzerias serve whole pies rather than slices, and these come in a variety of perspectives: neighborhood pizzeria (Villa Monte, Nonna’s, Brother’s), old school (Denino’s Pizzeria Tavern, Joe & Pat’s, Lee’s Tavern), newer school (Pizzeria Giove, Campania), and close to the ferry (Pier 76, the now-defunct Paulie’s). A newer entry in that second-to-last category is Richmond Road’s Dough by Licastri, which opened in 2016.
 

Gourmet pizzas and creative toppings are more common in Brooklyn and Manhattan than Staten Island, but Dough by Licastri combines genuine creativity with a rock-solid grasp of pizza basics—their dough, as you might expect, is fantastic, their sauces are balanced, and the pies do not drown in toppings. The results are nothing short of inspiring.

The Hotter than July ($24, above) is a spicy meat-heavy red pie, topped with fennel sausage, hot soppressata, fresh mozzerella, pecorino, and grilled long hot peppers, and finished with fresh basil and jalapeno honey. The garbage pie is a common menu item at Staten Island pizzerias, in which (generally) three meats and a couple of of veggies are combined on the same pie. This is in the same spirit, but whereas garbage pies tend to be enjoyable but less than the sum of their parts, the Hotter than July ingredients cooperate in an ensemble effort, every bite a little different, and everything a little bit better than it would have been on its own. Which would already have been pretty fantastic.
 
 
Over on the white pie side of things, the Popeye and Olive Oyl ($22, above) takes a white spinach pie and adds red onion, substitutes smoked mozzerella and bechamel for the white component, and tops it with pickled teardrop peppers. This Peruvian ingredient is one you have likely not had on a pizza, but which you might find yourself asking for side orders of to add to future pies.

One such option for that is the Pistachio Pesto Pie ($22, below), which substitutes pistachios for basil and adds bechamel and sausage to the mix. It is rich and nutty and again genuinely makes sense when you eat it, which you will want to do again as soon as possible.
 
 
Besides pizza, Dough by Licastri has sandwiches, salads, and a handful of similarly-creative appetizers. During a recent lunch an impulsive order of mac & cheese eggrolls ($10.50, below) was far superior to other deep-fried mac-and-cheese products, served with sweet chili sauce and complicated by blue cheese and (inevitably) bacon.
 
The eggroll wrapper kept the mac and cheese moist and, just, wow. You might find yourself almost annoyed to have one more thing to order besides the amazing pies.
 
 
For the car-less, you could plan a lovely and extremely caloric daytrip of taking the ferry and then the train to south Staten Island, combining a visit to Dough by Licastri with a pie from the nearby Lee’s Tavern, or even a third stop at Pizzeria Giove. Beautiful High Rock Park and Historic Richmondtown are also within easy bus or bike distance if you need to walk off the pizza.
 
Though the restaurant itself is minuscule, outdoor dining is available on a surprisingly pleasant back deck fenced off from Richmond Road, and diners are encouraged to BYOB. You might see turkeys walking by on the sidewalk as you eat your pie. You might also find yourself wondering if this could be not just the best pie in Staten Island but one of the very best in the city.
 

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Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

28 January 2021

Chuan Yue 川粤

CHINA 🇨🇳
(SICHUAN)

COVID-19 UPDATE: Chuan Yue has space for outdoor dining but on a recent winter evening were takeout only. When indoor dining resumes in NYC they have roomy tables separated by plexiglass.
 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

The classic pathway to finding good cheap eats is to order whatever is popular at a modest restaurant with heavy foot traffic and some hand-written signs. Sichuan food in NYC does not work like that. Sichuan is one of the wealthiest provinces in China, and immigrants from the province have generally been better-off and later-arriving than their predecessors from Fujian and Canton. As such, Sichuan restaurants are often a little more expensive and modernized, geared towards wealthier immigrants and their children.

Sichuan food in the Brooklyn Chinatowns has been slow to catch up with the quality on offer in Flushing. Bay Ridge’s Grand Sichuan House has long offered excellent Sichuan. In the past two years they’ve been joined by several new restaurants specializing in whole fish, as well as 7th Avenue’s Chuan Tian Xia, and now Chuan Yue on a quiet industrial block of 64th Street. Chuan Yue is closest in intent to Chuan Tian Xia, with both offering modern dining spaces and modestly upscale menus with some variations on traditional Sichuan cooking as well as excellent versions of the old-time standards.
 

Century egg with green peppers ($7.95, above top left) comes mounded in birds eye peppers and less-spicy grilled green peppers. Diners unfamiliar with century, or thousand-year eggs will be challenged by their appearance, with the whites treated with ash and turned translucent black. The flavor, however, is mild and familiar, and the rich eggs are a beautiful balance to the tang and spice of the peppers and dressing.
 
Thai-style wood ear mushrooms ($7.95, above top middle) is a similarly lush version of a common dish, with the mushrooms again dressed in bird's eye peppers, as well as cilantro and (unusually) slices of lemon. Pickled peppers put in an appearance in this dish, in this case small fermented yellow peppers that could be distant cousins to pepperoncini. Pickled and preserved peppers are more universally found in dishes from neighboring Guizhou and nearby Hunan provinces, but are a welcome addition to Sichuan dishes.


Also pulling from Hunan culinary traditions is a beautiful dish of garlic sprouts with Chinese bacon ($13.95, above). The garlic sprouts are leeks, and and the Chinese bacon is perhaps closest in Western analogy to Iberian ham, strips of dried and preserved pork leg that in this case have been stir-fried with dried peppers and vegetables until the meat’s smokiness permeates everything else. Chuan Yue’s version is less tough than what you might find in Hunan or Sichuan, but that might well be an improvement.

Dry wok cauliflower ($11.95, below) is a perfect vegetable offset to the rich meat dishes, while hot and sour duck blood ($15.95, top photo, top right) was the most unusual dish during a recent dinner. The duck blood is cut into tofu-like cakes, as with pig blood in South East Asian cuisine, and again is much milder and more appealing than it might sound to diners new to Sichuan food. This preparation is strikingly different from most Sichuan chili oil dishes, with spice (and sour) here coming from two varieties of pickled pepper while the chili oil leans heavily on Sichuan peppercorn and its familiar numbing properties. While Sichuan food is famously spicy and numbing, Hunan cuisine is spicy and sour, and this dish provides an unusual and very successful mashup of the two.
 

Several online menus exist for Chuan Yue, creating some confusion with ordering and unavailability of some dishes. Best to work off their newly-revamped website, which includes updated availability and package deals for family dinners, and to confirm your online order by phone. One recent order arrived with a complimentary order of soup dumplings, which while notably un-Sichuan were actually quite good, and provided a nicely mild counterpoint to the fireworks of everything else.

South Brooklyn diners in search of Sichuan lunch or dinner will be hard-pressed to decide between Chuan Yue, Chuan Tian Xia, and Bay Ridge’s Grand Sichuan. All have standout dishes, and happily all have their own specialties that are quite different from one another. Here’s to hoping that all three make it through the next few months and are around for years to come.

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

18 January 2021

Mill Basin Deli

USA 🇺🇸

COVID-19 UPDATE: Takeout only, no outdoor dining. Their website contains an online ordering portal.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

Old school Jewish delicatessans are an endangered species in south Brooklyn, and throughout the five boroughs. Last spring Avenue U favorite Jay and Lloyd’s fell victim to 2020's winding road, but carrying on the torch on a quiet block near the Kings Plaza Mall is Mill Basin Deli, which opened its doors in 1973. Their delivery fleet proclaim “Brooklyn’s Best Pastrami,” and on that count they may well be right.
 
As any past visitor to Katz’s Delicatessan will know, house-made pastrami and corned beef do not come cheap. Despite its outer-borough location, Mill Basin Deli is no exception to that rule. The hot pastrami sandwich ($20.95, below) comes with a cut option of regular, lean, juicy, or extra lean.

 
As is the tradition, the piled-high rye bread comes accompanied by a pickle (sour or half sour), mustard or Russian dressing, and the usual desultory coleslaw. In defense of the pricing, the sandwich is good for two meals, and the pastrami lives up to its billing.
 
Even better, perhaps, is Mill Basin’s corned beef, served here on an open-faced kosher Reuben sandwich ($22.95, below). For the not-strictly-kosher among us Russian dressing, though it might not be a favorite to most diners, finds its niche here, a perfect complement to the tang of the sauerkraut. Again, you might not want to attempt this whole thing in one sitting. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Apparently it can be Kosher!]



Potato latkes, knish, and other Jewish deli mainstays round out an extensive menu. Stuffed derma ($9.25), also known as kishke, is served in two large slices of sausage casing stuffed with a dense and rich bread stuffing, slathered in brown gravy. Though often made with matzoh flour, Mill Basin’s version tastes more of rye.

Kasha varnishkes with gravy ($5.25, below) consists of buckwheat and bowtie pasta dressed in that same thick gravy. It’s hearty, heavy, and bridges the transition of Jewish delis from inexpensive immigrant food purveyors to their current status as somewhat fancified relics of neighborhood tradition. Despite the twenty dollar sandwiches, this simple peasant dish helps remind diners of the pathways that brought this food to Brooklyn, and the humble origins of many of our ancestors, whose diets were likely light on the corned beef and heavy on the buckwheaand kishke.
 

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

11 January 2021

Qing Dao Restaurant 青岛饭店

🇨🇳 CHINA
(SHANDONG)

COVID-19 UPDATE: Qing Dao Restaurant is in a modest 3-stall food court. They are currently takeout only, with the food well-suited to reheating. In normal times there is proper seating upstairs.
 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.
 
New pan-Asian steamed rice roll vendor Rolls Rice has been getting great press since their 2020 opening, in all the major New York City outlets. Their innovative rolls are really good, and the stall is worth a visit. While you are there, you should also pick up a truly inspiring takeout meal from their neighboring eatery Qing Dao Restaurant, who used to be the sole tenant at this address but has since welcomed company and reduced their footprint.

The rather desultory google maps listing is limited to simply Qingdao, and files it as a "Mandarin restaurant." In practice, Qing Dao slings a wide variety of wares from their namesake city in Shandong province. Qing Dao’s menu items show off the city’s unique history and geography—it is just across the Yellow Sea from the Korean peninsula and was occupied by Germany for two decades early in the twentieth century. Influences from both countries are evident in the cooking, and the Germans left behind a famous brewery—Qingdao can also be translated as Tsingtao.
 

Though it may prove useful to be well-versed in Mandarin, everything is ready to serve in trays, so it’s easy enough to point at what you want. Most items are priced by weight. The first four trays are all protein mains. Beef tendon ($5 for a small serving) is served cold with scallions in a light chili oil. The flavor is mild, but the dish is a textural experience, reminiscent of pigs feet but more user-friendly.
 
What the servers describe as simply beef ($10 for a large serving, above bottom left) is beef jerky in entree form. The jerky is cooked down until crunchy, saturated in sugar and chili oil that’s heavy on the Sichuan peppercorn, and finished with sesame seeds. Though not something you can eat a huge serving of, this dish is unique and memorable, bringing to mind Indonesian and Southeast Asian dishes as much as anything Chinese.
 
Over in the vegetable section there are plenty of options for vegetarians, with small containers of everything costing $5. Sour cabbage is again served cold in chili oil, and is aggressively fermented (hello kimchi, guten tag sauerkraut). Shredded potatoes, wood ear mushrooms, and cucumbers with garlic are all of the mild variety. Julienned celery and baked tofu is mild but soaked in Sichuan peppercorn oil, leaving your lips tingling. The star of the vegetable case defies easy translation, being described as “preserved vegetable” during two recent visits. It is green, has a ridged stem, and when preserved ends up very crunchy and a little sweet, which is balanced out perfectly by, you guessed it, a mild chili oil dressing. Whatever it is, get a container or if, or more, as both the flavor and texture are hits. Be forewarned that the crunch comes through clearly during Zoom calls.
 

Past the vegetables is a collection of beautifully homemade sausages ($10 a pound), which stand head and shoulders above other recent sausage entries from Chinatown. Qing Dao’s are larger than most Chinese sausage, dominated by whole chunks of pork meat and fat. The seasoning relies on the familar five spice, but is less sweet and more savory than many Chinese sausages. It appears cured, but also holds up well to a few minutes in the frying pan. Don’t forget to drain it on paper towels—these things do not lack in grease.

Besides the glass case items, the desserts in the entryway are also part of Qing Dao’s offerings, as are the bread products opposite the main counter. Amidst the buns and other options are containers of impressive guotie, or potstickers ($6 for six), longer and wider than other Chinese dumplings. These fry up nicely in the leftover oil from that sausage.

Shandong cuisine is one of the eight formal culinary traditions of China, but is far less well-known to New York eaters than its cousins such as Sichuan and Cantonese. Qing Dao Restaurant offers a great introduction to this food that’s no less memorable for how affordable it is. And for exploring new foods, you cannot beat the point and scoop method.

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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!

31 December 2020

Juquilita Laundromat & Deli

🇲🇽 MÉXICO
Google Street View

COVID-19 UPDATE: Juquilita is takeout only, unless you are doing your laundry and wolf down a taco on the side. The tiny store can get crowded and the kitchen is often backlogged, so it is best to call in orders ahead of time, or go for a walk while your food is prepared.
 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.
 
Mexican food in New York City did not hit its stride until the past decade or so, following an influx of immigrants from Puebla and other states driven by NAFTA’s destabilization of the Mexican economy. Being new immigrants to a high-rent city, would-be restaurateurs have been resourceful—much of the best Mexican food in New York is cooked behind the deli counters of bodegas-cum-taquerias.
 
Staten Island’s Juquilita Laundromat & Deli goes a step deeper into the pool of resourcefulness. It started life as a simple coin laundry, which spawned a grocery store, and now hosts a taco counter making some of the best burritos on the island.
 
 
New York burritos suffer in comparison to their West Coast counterparts in part because most locally-manufactured flour tortillas are not big enough to make a proper Mission-style burrito, and most taquerias are not doing enough burrito business to justify making their own flour tortillas. Juquilita sidesteps this handicap by overlapping two Banderita-brand tortillas in a Venn diagram of deliciousness.
 
It does not hurt that their carnitas are top-notch, or that they generally hit the sweet spot of bean/rice/meat proportion. In a busy kitchen the preparation can be uneven, but on a good day their carnitas burrito ($9, below) sings. Burrito puritans might raise their eyebrows at the lettuce, or the pickled jalapeños, but the sum effect is hefty and delicious. Please note that Juquilita does not have a salsa bar, and your green and red sauce will set you back an extra 50 cents a cup.
 

Beyond the burritos, Juquilita's menu is ever-expanding with hand-written addendums. A torta Hawaiana ($9, not shown) is sloppy in the best way, ham and melted Oaxacan quesillo anchoring a mess of chipotle, avocado, beans, and canned pineapple. If you do not like pizza with pineapple, this might still do the trick.  
 
Tacos Aztecas ($10 for three) combine bistec with quesillo and grilled nopal. Other recent menu additions include a selection of Pueblan tacos placeros, and a few nods to the increasing number of non-Mexican customers from the neighborhood. A bacon egg and quesillo sandwich ($3.75, below) is served with avocado, grilled jalapenos, and a dash of mayonnaise. Another variant substitutes chorizo for the bacon. It’s great to see the Mexican ingredients dressing up a classic New York sandwich.
 
A New York City-Oaxaca mashup.
 
If you’re in a hurry there are often ready-made guisados simmering in pots back in the kitchen. A recent Saturday lunch yielded an exemplary red pipian with rice and beans ($7.50, below). Pipian in New York is often mild and liquid-y, but Juquilita’s iteration is thick with ground pumpkin seeds and very rich. Well worth a second order the next time it is available.

Besides laundry and tacos, Juquilita offers a full meat counter, fresh produce, and a remarkable selection of Mexican groceries jammed into a multi-pupose space. This could be the start of an epic North Shore Mexican food crawl: starting at Juquilita for pipian and a burrito, walking up Castleton to the excellent Oaxaca Pizzeria Deli & Taqueria for tacos de alambre and nachos con pico de gallo, and then staggering on to Port Richmond Avenue, the heart of Staten Island’s thriving Mexican community.
 
 
 
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I COULD USE YOUR HELP
Eat the World NYC is and always has been free. No advertisements block the content or pop over what you read. If this website has helped you explore your city and its wonderful cultures a little better and you have the means to contribute, please consider doing so. Eat the World NYC is a labor of love, but also takes a lot of money and time everyday to keep running.

You can Venmo me @JAREDCOHEE or click here to send PayPal donation, no account is necessary. Thank you!