Friday, February 24, 2012

Williamsburg, Brooklyn Mexican Food

When I've got a lot to do and when my back is really against the wall, three actions come very naturally: firstly, stop all pertinent productivity.  Two: stop checking email. And C) do something else entirely.  Frankly, that's what we have here.  Three, maybe four really pressing projects, some strictish deadlines and I am composing an unnecessary, long-winded blog post.  And so begins my thinly researched, at times churlish review of the local Williamsburg-Brooklyn-Mexican-Food-For-Lunch situation.

I ought to start by admitting I grew up, at least until my mid teens, eating only two sorts of Mexican food: Taco Time and Azteca.  Both PNW Mexican food staples.  Both likely lacking in that most prized pepper, authenticity. Luckily, I can fall back on eight years living in that lap of Mexican food luxury called California (Santa Barbara and San Francisco) and a further decade or more of hanging around North County San Diego, my wife's mother's incredible enchiladas and tamales and my wife's grandparent's inconsistent supply of homemade beans and rice. Besides the months (tabulated) spent south of the boarder doing things gringos do south of the boarder.  These are my credentials.

Further, to really cut down on the fluff, I'll only review a few of the local spots, namely the ones that are within reach of my office on Wythe: La Superior, Cariño, L.A. Burrito, Taco Chulo, The Endless Summer Taco Truck, The Purple Taco Truck and La Esquina.

Further, more to make this go faster for me and my tight time frame rather than to make something properly definitive, I'll keep my reviews really, really short.

L.A. Burrito  
Crap. Crap, crap, crap.  But somehow ok.  I eat there sometimes.  My wife has, on occasion ordered very prescriptive bean burritos from there.  Which says something.

Taco Chulo
I've never actually eaten at Taco Chulo.  But one of my co-workers was kind enough to order it for lunch on my behalf.  Ok.  Not great.  Just ok.  I wouldn't take my wife there. Ever.

The Endless Summer Taco Truck
Pretty good. however, they tend to not open until way after 1pm.  One time wifey tried to borrow some hot sauce for her deli sandwich from them and they gave her a hard time.  It was the same day our dog died and my wife, bless her soul, was in a fragile state and started crying.  The guy gave her hot sauce.

The Purple Taco Truck
The smile you receive from the lady or gentleman in the truck when you place an order is worth the slight selection and the sometimes odd feeling in the stomach afterwards.

La Esquina
The hip Soho transplant is actually not bad at all.  You just gotta get over that eyesore of a Wythe Diner sign and your natural aversion to the hip Soho transplant.

La Superior
I don't care how pretty good the food is, how well priced the menu is or how well placed it is on a street map, the service is crap.  It's like someone took the worst parts of international hipsterdom, taught them how to cook pretty well, price things sensibly and locate their business cannily but then told them to accentuate all the worst parts of international hipsterdom.   It's maddening.  I hate it there.  I don't know how many bad experiences I've had with their snotty staff but it never pleases.  It turns my stomach.  It makes the food taste bad in my mouth.  Just the other day I went there for lunch, "just this one last time" so I told myself, only to sit alone in an empty restaurant, alone, waiting for someone to take my order. For ten minutes. In an empty restaurant.  I actually wrote this whole blog just to say how much I despise La Superior. 

And to say how much I esteem...

By far the best Mexican food in the neighborhood.  Bar none.  West Coast family with proper Mexican bloodlines have come and gone, taking tales of culinary delight back with them.  Wifey swears by them.  The Boy swears by them.  My oldest brother swears by them.  Wifey's sister swears by them. I swear by them.  I swear by them now.  And they are kind, gentle, gracious and warm.  And the food is out of this world. Go there.


Anonymous said...

strongly suggest you try cantina royal. right next to pilgrim on N 3rd st. julio is a magician.

EditorialBoard said...

Ah, Wifey was mentioning some new joint she heard about. Heading over there this weekend. No doubt. Thanks for the heads up.

Hye Tyde said...

great read! - I remember the surly attitude at that same place

kelvin freely said...

joel noted to me a while back that he dislikes referring to things (food, cultures, dancing, religious hats) as authentic. Instead he prefers to use genuine. There's room for both words in my world, but I tend to agree with him. That you italicized "authentic" makes me think you're aware of this word in the same way, especially as it applies to peppers.

geleasi eptionna

EditorialBoard said...

Oh, man, that is a juicy subject. The "authentic" one. It is all the more interesting that it is brought up on a surf blog as surf culture, in general, as far as I've seen, is obsessed with the problematic definition of the authentic.

However, I don't think I've got it wrong here. While denoting authenticity of a thing (a culture or a food for instance) often verges on a comic misapplication, I am not doing that in this case. Instead what I am appealing to, or rather arguing for, is my authority to author a review. I am building up my own credentials, something wholly subjective, assailable and in need of extensive buttressing to make the reader believe what I am saying. I take my experiences as an eater of Mexican food as genuine no matter what. I had them, they are mine. The fact that I've eaten the food is unassailable as genuine. A genuine experience of eating tater tots dipped in hot sauce at Taco Time. But my authority as a critic must be ascertained. It is a societal mantle, and is predictably sticky as such. I think I cannot hope to appeal to the "genuine" in this case, or that is, I'd rather not make a prolonged attempt as using it as a basis for argument. For it is not within the realm of the genuine that the literary form of review exists in my estimation unless to call attention to the genuine experience one has had. Of course, I'm telling you how I genuinely feel, about what I think was a genuine experience of bad service. But as I said, I don't need to appeal to that. It is perhaps self evident. Instead, I just need to lay out my credentials, my authority as commentator.

The fact is though, that while my multiple experiences of uncomfortable service at La Superior may be genuine, it is subject to change. I may be forced to go there and may be forced to experience really good service there. And what of all the other people who enjoy the good food, proper prices and shitty service of La Superior? They either have a wholly different experience of the place, or they have a far more easy-going approach to how they feel while eating. Anyhow, thats a a digression. What I mean to say is I do not appeal to the genuine, I can only make a case for authority. Which is goofy in it's own right, admittedly.

I touch on the particularly surfy aspect here.

Anonymous said...

I think you ought to give Taco Chulo a second try. I don't think it is fair to slam a restaurant based on lukewarm take-out. Their margaritas are so weak you feel like someone's playing a cruel joke on you, but the food is REALLY GOOD.

p.s. I miss Taco Time (which is disgusting, I know).

Toddy said...

Fair and square. Just goes to show the shoddy journalism happening here. And granted this is one man's misinformation, I know plenty of people on the other side of every opinion I've got. Will do on the Chulo in house. I'm not a big margarita drinker anyhow.

nahidworld said...

Mexican cuisine food is very important things all Mexican.this food become very testy.i love Mexican food very much.

Diane Baker said...

Looks like Mexican restaurants are rampant in your vicinity. Too bad there’s only one you considered as good in the neighborhood. It appears you have to go beyond your locality if you want to experience more of the authentic Mexican food experience that could surpass your expectation. Hopefully, a closer one opens up in your area soon!

Diane Baker @ Alejandra’s Restaurant