>> Karen Deli Grocery | Eat the World NYC

27 November 2011

Karen Deli Grocery


On a walking trip to scout and see what was new and interesting in the western part of Sunset Park a couple months ago, I came across Karen, which drapes Guatemalan and Honduran flags outside from the awning along with a Mexican one. They are geared towards the latter, but I like a specialty kitchen that tries to accommodate the other residents of a neighborhood, like El Atoradero in the Bronx.

They advertise all their Mexican fare in the windows and also feature pupusas, the most famous item from El Salvador. The kitchen is a little hidden in the back of the shop, you must enter and navigate through the small grocery to find it, but either one or two friendly ladies will greet you in the back where there are also two small tables to eat inside.

The tacos al pastor ($2.50 each, above) are big and come pre-loaded with their avocado salsa. Al pastor is almost always better from a spit of course, but this is the best non-spit version I have tasted, juicy and with a decent kick. If you need more bite, the plate comes with your very own jalapeño pepper (at bottom)

I did not see one on the picture wall, but I was in the mood for a huarache ($4, below), which she had no hesitation in saying could be done, and got right into spreading the ground masa to make its base. She spread a layer of the thin beans, and topped it with my selection of carne enchilada. This too came out very nice and needed no additional flavoring.

The last item ordered was a quesadilla de pollo ($3, below), which had ample portions of fresh queso blanco and quite a mild overall taste that was somehow sweet. I went ahead and loaded this one up with the salsa verde provided at the table.

I got to speaking with the lady who cooked us everything, asking if she made this or that, and was most happy to find that she was in the business of baleadas, a Honduran specialty that is not too abundant in the city. I will be happy to stop back and try her Central American cooking on my next visit. It is always nice to be so welcome in a place that is serving up such wonderful food.

Use with caution.

On an avenue that is littered with small Mexican antojito joints, Karen is really shining bright for its atmosphere of friendliness and quality ingredients, especially the spicing. For those that need an introduction to Sunset Park, this is a good place to start.

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