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.