The Essex Market on the Lower East Side is a fascinating and eclectic mix of food vendors. It is the polar opposite of the chic Chelsea Market, whose fashionable “old warehouse” halls are home to Amy’s Bread, Anthropologie and Food Network Offices. Chelsea Markets has wonderful charm, but that’s for another time. Essex Market has been in business since 1940, and today is a fascinating mixture of run-down Hispanic grocery stores, creepy looking old- school butcher counters and hip, popular specialty stores. I wanted to expand further on my thoughts on the Market but I realize I am woefully inept in describing it. You kind of just have to go there, and either you’ll get it or you won’t. I had to get on with the darn post.
The point of the post is – Brooklyn Taco! I have the pleasure of being able to meet Cathy for lunch every once and a while, and we always make it a point to do something very delicious. Most days, I bring my lunch to work, and with the exception of a few surprisingly tasty specialities, it’s almost always a frozen veg/rice mixture that is JUST this side of edible. I was thrilled when Cathy suggested Brooklyn Taco in the Essex Market, which is a 15 minute walk from the Serious Eats Office.
The way this little place situated is really interesting. All the spots are sort of stalls, with a very open air market vibe. Brooklyn Taco has a tiny counter with 3 stools and a perfect view into their petite open kitchen. Cathy and I both opted for 2 tacos (and the same ones at that):
Guaco Taco – Chunky avocado, raw sweet corn, tomatoes, red onion, cheese, crema, hot sauce
Chipotle’d Chicken – Boneless chicken thighs braised in a chipotle broth, salsa fresca, cheese, crema, salsa roja.
(I also felt it necessary to order a Mango Jarritos, which tasted intensely of melted candy and I discreetly pushed aside halfway through the meal)
I will admit – I don’t have much knowledge on tacos. Growing up, taco night at the Palermo house was not only my absolute favorite night, but also looked nothing like the tacos above. We rocked hard shells, ground beef with Ortega seasoning, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and olives. Delicious, but certainly not what tacos snobs would ever consider CLOSE to a taco. When it comes to Brooklyn Taco, I’ve gathered from around the foodisphere that people in the know are liking these. Which is good, because I found these to be incredibly delicious. Ok, I’ll be honest. I don’t really care WHAT people in the know are saying – I loved these. My one and only issue was price, (these will set you back $8 or $9) but I didn’t really dwell on it for long. It was such a satisfying and flavorful meal that I didn’t care. I shall be returning.
Let’s get a tiny bit closer for a final look
What a special lunch this was. Felt like Lunch Studio style 🙂