In certain realms, Bushwick gets a lot of good words about its Latin cuisine, much of which is Mexican. In the past couple months I have visited a handful of the better recognized ones. For now, except for some possibilities further southeast towards Irving Square Park, I think this will be it for a while. These small family operations are good, but I do not think they are quite at the level as the ones in Corona or Sunset Park. At least no one can accuse me of not trying.
My latest meal in the neighborhood came at Santa Ana Deli, another former bodega that expanded operations of the kitchen as it became more popular. Now the dining room is almost completely spartan of goods for sale and has been replaced with tables and chairs for having a few tacos and a beer. The windows are covered with those colorful blankets we all brought back from our vacations to the country.
Adhering to my new policy of trying the meat at the top of any restaurants list, I chose two tacos de carne enchilada ($2.50 each, above), but was thoroughly uninspired by the unfresh meat and tortillas. They do give you fresh cilantro, lime, and onion, and this as well as their salsas go a good way to masking everything.
Outside they are happy to advertise their "best quesadillas" so it was a no-brainer to try one here. When this antojito is done right, as a few street vendors in those aforementioned neighborhoods can do, it is such a satisfying vehicle for deliciousness. Luckily the tortilla made for this is much fresher than the tacos, fried nicely to create crispy bites.
The quesadilla de la casa ($5, above and below) is a mild-mannered concoction of chicharron, zucchini, and cheese. The crunchiness of the pork parts pairs well with the rest, but the fold has to be opened to juice a lime and add a lot of their green salsa into the mix.
They have a case full of beer and do allow you to drink it in house, which is a wonderful thing for a bodega. This alone is reason enough to forgive them for some other sins, but probably will not get me going far from home. As a neighborhood joint, it is solid.