Flatiron Lunch: Great Burrito’s Tacos Are Better Than Their Burritos (Go Figure)

Now that Downtown has its very own section of the site, what are we going to post on Fridays at 10am? Answer… how about a new column devoted to those lunches just south of the ML boundaries. Please give a warm welcome to Jason Lam from the blog Me So Hungry. Every Friday at 10am he’ll post about lunches in Murray Hill south, Grammercy, Flatiron, and everything in between… or as we’ll call it from now on: Flatiron Lunch.

Now that Zach’s out in L.A. eating amazing tacos in the sunshine, how about some taco love for our city in the snow? When my Californian friends tell me that a good taco in New York is nowhere to be found, I’d ask where they’re looking. They’d say, “You know, all you guys have is Chipotle.” Then I’d suggest they take a visit to many of the great Latino neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. Or even closer, the eleven-floor elevator ride down from my office to the Great Burrito in Manhattan.

This tiny hole in the wall serves authentic Mexican fare –tacos, tortas, sopes, huaraches served with meats like al pastor or carnitas (pork), chorizo and even lengua (tongue). The tacos are served flat on two small tortillas with onion, guacamole, cilantro and hot sauce at $2.50 each. You’ll notice how the filling is loaded on when you attempt to pick it up without letting any of it spill over. It will spill over. The meats aren’t of high quality, but it all adds to that kind of flavor you get from those outer borough Latino neighborhoods …and may I dare say comparable to the tacos I had in L.A. this past Fall?

More pricier items include enchiladas ($9) and burrito ($7.50) which I do enjoy, but it wasn’t always a love-affair. It’s taken me some time to get use to the large grain mushy rice they use. The Great Burrito Style burrito is a good choice. It’s a combination of pork, beef and chicken. The enchilada is a big dish, but I have a hard time justifying if it’s worth $9 at a place like this.

They also sell pizza that often looks pale and dusty. Surprisingly, I always see someone ordering a slice or two. I took a chance this week at a regular cheese slice ($2.25). It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Not a great slice, but nothing like skating rink pizza. I’ve visited Great Burrito three days in a row this week and the pizza did look fresher every day, which makes me think it was all in the timing from when it came out of the oven. Wow. I can’t believe I just said I ate at Great Burrito three days in a row. No adverse reactions so far.

This taquería/pizza shop was mentioned by a few Midtownlunch readers back when I made my first Flatiron post. It’s been well-deserving of a write-up and I’m glad to bring it. Go for the tacos. Try everything else once you’re bored. Maybe limit yourself to two-days in a row …to be on the safe side.

THE + (What people who like this place will say)

  • I love authentic Mexican-style tacos
  • I like lengua tongue meat
  • I don’t have to travel far for this style of Mexican food for lunch

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • I won’t pay $9 for enchiladas from a hole in the wall
  • I won’t eat pale and dusty pizza
  • I still can’t or won’t believe there is a good taco in New York

Great Burrito, 100 W 23rd St (btw. 6+7th), 212-243-0022


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    i went for their pizza once and wasnt a fan, now this gives me a little bit of direction when it comes to looking at their mexican food menu. ill have to try it again next week and see whats good

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    yeah surprisingly their tacos are decent in that place.

  • I’m just commenting on the photo, I’ve never been to Great Burrito… but to taco eaters, doesn’t that photo seem like an awful lot of salsa? I’m used to seeing carnitas with just a spoonful of chunky green tomatillo and a squirt of lime. Most of my Mexican friends are able to give discourses on which salsas are appropriate to which tacos…

    Nice to see corn tortillas in Manhattan, though…

    • True, a lot of sauce. But this photo time, the guy did look at me with the bottle if I wanted it. And I smiled. So he probably took that as to load it on. But they usually do put it on anyway.

  • jpv – I kinda felt the same way when I saw the pic. Way too much sauce.

  • Sorry guys… but I can tell just from looking this doesn’t hold a candle to the stuff in L.A.! Tacos look ok, but I hate how all the burritos in NYC are served “wet”. Burritos should all be wrapped like tight nuggets of goodness, and eaten with two hands. I’m of the opinion that a fork and knife should never come within five feet of a burrito…

    But I’m sure it’s “good for NYC” ;-)

    • Wait a second… is that lettuce on the taco? I take it back! That’s just wrong…

      • I think that’s all cilantro. But that few slices down near the bottom does look like lettuce. It’s cilantro chopped weird.

        …and they asked me if I wanted all that sauce on it.

        Another note: I ran into a business acquaintance there once and he was telling me how the food reminded him of some place he ate in Ecuador. He kept going on an on about it. He wouldn’t shut up.

  • DocZach has spoken

    Mama….ban him from here already

  • I think Jason didn’t have his V-8 in that first pic, he was all lopsided ;-p
    (dose anyone even get that commercial joke anymore?)

  • I used to work right next to there—there is temp space 2 doors down. Our office got moved there when we were building our new digs. I can attest to the quality of the food—via my coworkers who loved it—since they use cilantro and i was not eater. I would stick to Maffei’s pizza though across the street.

  • The tacos I’ve had there weren’t as ‘saucy.’ I agree about the burritos, Zach–they shouldn’t squirt the salsa/sour cream on them. Spydr–NOBODY goes there for the pizza! (Unless it’s after 3 a.m.) And Jason–you ate there 3 days running and didn’t even report on the yummy huaraches or tortas? For shame! This needs a follow-up.

    And, importantly, this place is open 24/7.

  • well, the photo still leaves me skeptical of tacos in Manhattan. usually when I ask “do you have al pastor?” they say yes, and then then give me carne adobada… either that or a pineapple bomb. And it’s a shame to get tacos covered with guacamolito sauce. I’m not used to having to go high maintenance when ordering tacos, which should be simple by default if the meat is good (¡oiga, no me ponga aquella salsa, eh, quiero comer tacos, no sopa! ¿me explico?).

    also, i might be too snooty to eat a burrito… when they’re bad, they’re bad. and when they’re good, the tacos will be good as well, so i might as well eat a taco! i recognize that that’s my own personal issue…

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    I live above the Best Buy across the street and this a frequent (at least once a week) destination for me, usually for drunken munchies, haha. However, I’ve eaten there sober many times as well and it’s awesome. Zach, there’s no lettuce on these and I’m pretty sure they DO compare to L.A. tacos (you traitor, haha). It’s a great store with a great staff. However, I would say their pizza is one of the worst in NYC, sorry.

    Also, get a beef patty w/ cheese and their homemade hotsauce. Sounds bad but tastes oh so good…

  • RE: Zach says, “I’m of the opinion that a fork and knife should never come within five feet of a burrito . . . ”

    Spoken like a TRUE non-New Yawka!

    Zach has only been free of the ‘wormy apple’ for a few weeks, and he is ALREADY learning an appreciation for civilized Southwestern cuisine, SANS the crap sold in New Yawk City under the pretense of “Texas” or “Southwestern” food.

    Buddy, thank your stars for your wife’s job relocation, or whatever other ‘force of nature’ that permitted you to escape to California!

    May you “Live Long and Prosper.”

    Carrion on, please.

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