NYC: Burrito Watch

Coming down from a burrito high is the worst. If you find yourself in NYC needing quick fix, there are apparently options.

When a bartender heard that we were from San Francisco, he raved about Dos Toros in Union Square.

Another staff member who claimed to be from Berkeley (and later proved this by knowing intricate details of student co-op living) confirmed that it’s pretty awesome, so I checked it out. This is a taqueria modeled directly after the bay’s own Gordo Taqueria by two fellows from Berkeley who wanted to bring bay area burritos to NYC.

Here’s what their carnitas burrito looks like:

First of all, the pierced and tatt’ed young lady who wrapped my burrito really didn’t know what she was doing. Her end folds were way too big pushing all the contents to the middle. She tried to cover things up with an exaggerated triangle fold to bring the edges in, but this just resulted in burrito contents shooting out of the tip at a higher velocity after the second roll. The whole structural integrity of the burrito was therefore compromised, as you can see from the cracking of the overloaded bottom half:

This was a far cry from the burrito wrapping mastery one would see at any taqueria here, but I was in a forgiving mood. Maybe she was new here.

Anyway, when I could keep the burrito from spilling everywhere I thought it tasted really good. The carnitas meat was moist and flavorful. If I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the humidity and tourist swarms outsides I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about this being a bay area burrito. It’s really hard to be objective on the matter, of course the Mission in me wanted to hate it, but honestly I didn’t.

One of the guys working there must have picked up on my SF-ness because he asked, “did we pass the test?” Yeah, I think so. In any case, you’re definitely better off there than the Chipotle Mexican Grills that seemed to be everywhere.

One takeaway from this experience is that NYC is clamoring for a good burrito. Just about every NYC resident I talked to had heard of or eaten at Dos Toros. Other SF businesses are opening franchises in the area, so it doesn’t seem out of the question for taquerias to follow. Here’s to El Farolito East in 2011.

13 Responses to “NYC: Burrito Watch”

  1. New York usually gets things right, so I suspect they will end with El Taco Zamorano East. Because Zamorano is what SF burritos want to be when they grow up.

  2. SlobDog says:

    Don’t really care about NYC state of burrito for some reason however I think it stinks in the Mission we don’t have a late night grocery store and sandwich shop. It’s also too bad bars don’t stay open until 4am or have a 24hr Revolution Cafe like place here.

  3. egadz says:

    I think they should copycat burritos in Southern Cali. I never understood why it became ok for every taco shop in SF to steam a flour tortilla then put it in a foil wrapper. The tortillas become soggy and chewy. The world needs flour tortillas right off of the grill. You don’t steam pita bread right? F*#K no. And what’s the deal with SF burrito places puttin beans in every burrito? The soupy beans dilute the taste of the meat, seasonings meant to be enjoyed on their own. El Farolito is great at 3am, after I and everyone else is piss drunk.

    • Andrew Sarkarati says:

      beans taste good

    • Bob Dole says:

      I thought it was just me that hated steam pressed burritos. Food for thought: Burritos in the City are only worth their “beans” if they cook them on the grill.

      If I wanted a shitty burrito, I would’ve just gone to El Faro’s.

  4. Thank you! Somebody finally understands that steaming a tortilla is a horrible idea! As far as beans go, they should be refried and have a relatively thick consistency. The watery whole beans that so many of these so-called burrito places serve is a disgrace to the Awesomeness that is a burrito. Don’t even get me started on the option of black beans in a burrito.

    I usually order without rice because so many places use way too much rice in an effort to make the burrito look bigger without adding much cost.

    Are there any really good (grilled tortilla, refried beans, flavorful meats) burritos in the Mission?

  5. CIGAR says:

    As a San Francisco Native I am extremely dissapointed buy the response to this thread. Re fried beans were a white mans idea so that the beans would stay fresh in a can. Yes, tortillas are traditionally grilled, but the steaming of them allows for a greater amount of cheese to be melted and better fuse with the tortilla. I will grant you this, el farlito is a far cry from what it used to be back in the day when it catered to local customers instead of the steady stream of transplants who don’t mind the cheeper cheese, half-cooked beans, and moldy avacados because thats all you’ve ever had in LA or Peonix or New York. Ah, yes, new york I almost forgot. Manhattan has boasted a host of “San Francisco Mission Style Burrito” restaurants for a years now. I remember walking down Broadway 2005 or six, and right where it veers and runs into fifth there was a tiny little burrito bistro of sorts, replete with white table cloth, black-tie waiters, ceiling fans and mojito’s. I laughed all the way back to Bushwick. Yes i know no one who didn’t grow up here will ever truly understand what it means to sit on top of the box at dolores park and enjoy the greatest pleasure possible inside tinfoil (and i don’t mean crack)but thats chill. I always will.

    • “As a San Francisco native…” — that explains a lot….

      Frijoles refritos are not a “white man’s invention”. Unless said white man was in a very small village in Mexico 80 years ago and taught my wife’s grandmother how to cook Mexican food.

  6. Taylen says:

    yeah, but even bay area burritos suck…socal (aka san diego) is the only place to get a real burrito in cali…

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