Flatiron Lunch: Choza Taqueria Has Gotten Much Better
Back in October we gave you a first look at Choza Taqueria just after they opened. My initial visit didn’t blow me away, but Andrea seemed to like the tacos she had from the Open Air Market kiosk they opened downtown so I decided to give them some time to get their feet on the ground. This week I stopped in again and am glad to report that the Midtown location has stepped up their game.
The primary menu is pretty straightforward. You’ve got four protein options that can be used to fill tacos ($6.89), burritos ($7.58), bowls ($7.58) or salads ($6.89).
The burrito is substantial and by the book. Rice, beans, lettuce, salsa, the usual. This one was filled with carne asada, which is smokey and chewy without being tough.
Unlike a lot of other places these days, Choza, rightly, doubles up their tortillas. They’re a little thicker than I like, so while you’re unlikely to have your taco fall apart, they still lose a point for just being too prominent for my taste. That’s my personal preference though.
On my early visit, I found that the carnitas and the chicken weren’t nearly flavorful enough for my taste. In fact, I thought they were downright bland. Upon returning, I tried the carnitas again and really enjoyed it. Apologies to the pollo-philes, but I didn’t care enough to check it out again. Certainly not when the chorizo taco was on the specials board.
The chorizo is house made and is all sweet paprika and pork. It didn’t have nearly the spice I thought there would be, but that’s easily fixed with a dash of their homemade hot sauce (just ask for it at the counter.) Diced potatoes are interspersed with the meat and add a little more body to the whole thing.
The chorizo has become one of the more common specials and may be added to the regular menu soon. There are also other specials like tamales, tostadas, and soups, alongside drink specials like horchata and a spicy, sweet hot chocolate that really hits the spot in this weather. I don’t know how often they make it, but the chef mentioned that today they will be making some amazing sounding duck tacos, served with crispy duck skin on top.
Choza makes a good addition to a profoundly under-served area. I like the feel of the place and the chef who jumps back and forth from topping tacos and walking around the seating area talking to customers and giving out samples and offering advice on what to try. For price and ‘authenticity’ (if that matters), I’ll probably stick to El Carrito Rojo, but if you work north of the park Choza is definitely more convenient.
Choza Taqueria, 66 Madison Avenue between 27th and 28th Street