Bread Market Cafe (and the Plantain Burrito)
It takes alot for me to eat at a Midtown Deli. There are so many of them, and they offer so little. They breed laziness in every Midtown worker- and if they weren’t right outside your office, you would never eat there. Just admit it. But, every once in awhile, one of these delis offers something extraordinary… something that sets it apart. Variety Cafe, with their fat guy salad bar (I stopped eating there after it was closed by the health dept.), Cafe Duke and their Korean food station, or the one location of Europa Cafe with a make your own burrito bar.
Well, last week, I hit the motherload. Not only did I find a deli with something beyond the norm- they may have invented a new and unbelievably delicious food! The burrito, stuffed with fried plantains. That’s right. And the place to get it is the Bread Market Cafe (on 52nd btw. 5+6th). A generic make your own burrito bar, distinguished by one add-on ingredient. The sweet, fried plantain. It makes sense if you think about it… at Margon, you eat a meat, rice, beans, and fried plantains. Why not wrap the whole thing up in burrito form??? It’s genius.
See the pics, and the +/- after the jump….
The burrito bar at Bread Market Cafe is pretty standard- with some good and some bad. The first great thing is the steamed tortilla. One of the biggest problems with New York City burrito places is they don’t steam the tortilla. Surprisingly, this crappy Midtown deli does. They also roll their burritos very well; a tight, compact nugget. Very impressive. Unfortunately, when it came to the meats they lose alot of points. One of the biggest mistakes a “bad burrito place” makes is over-spice’ing each individual element. What makes a burrito great is the combination of each of the very simple single elements. The rich fattiness of the roast pork (or any meat), with the base of the rice and beans, the tangy-ness of the salsa and the fresh coolness of the guacamole or sour cream, mixes together to form a perfect burrito union. If you add a ton of salt and fancy spices to the meat, salt and spices to the rice, and tons of salt and spices to the beans- you get a gigantic over spiced mess. Let each simple element do it’s job, and you get the perfect burrito. Why would you need to add cilantro and lime to the rice? It’s already in the pico de gallo (Chipotle I’m look at you). It’s very simple people…
I’m a huge fan of pork, but unfortunately their pork is “Tangy pulled pork” or as most people would refer it to it- pork covered in BBQ sauce. Not good for a burrito. I ended up with the beef, which was over spiced. They had yellow “Mexican” rice, which is a plus for many people (or brown rice if you want to be “healthy” I guess), pico, cheese, two kinds of chicken (one shredded with the same spices as the beef, and one that look like it was boiled plain) guac and sour cream. Anything in your burrito costs around $6.25 to $6.75, depending on the meat. A vegetarian burrito will run you $5.50 to $6.25. The addition of the plantains is supposed to cost $.75, but they didn’t charge me, so maybe it’s free. Not exactly sure.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are no great burritos in New York City. Say what you will about Chipotle, Burritoville, Burrito Box or any other number of places- they all pale in comparison to any Burrito you will get in San Francisco, Los Angeles (or even a few places in Boston- like the often mentioned Anna’s Taqueria). Bread Market Cafe doesn’t change my mind about this. Despite being called “Mission Style Burritos”, they are mediocre burritos salvaged by the addition of one ingredient: the fried plantain. That’s not to say it wasn’t decent. The sweetness of the plantain mixes so well with the rice and beans and meat, this new invention can’t be ignored. If I went back, I would go with the plain chicken and it would probably be better.
All I know is, Latin places should start paying attention. THE CUBAN BURRITO could be huge! Invented by Bread Market Cafe, perfected by ______________. Oh man would that be good… imagine the same burrito stuffed with the roast pork, beans and rice, grilled onions and of course- the fried plantains from Margon (or Cafe Cello, or Sophie’s Cuban). Disgustingly delicious!!!! I think we’ve got something here…
- Um. Plantains… stuffed… INSIDE the burrito!!!
- They steam the tortilla
- They roll the burrito really well (no fork and knife needed) and it stays together until the last bite
- The plantain add on is supposed to cost .75, but they didn’t charge me
- Everything is over spiced, making it one of those typical, mediocre burritos
- The pork has BBQ sauce on it. Terrible.
Bread Market Cafe, 1290 Ave of the Americas- 52nd. St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-957-5677