Flatiron Lunch: Great Burrito Still Rules Mexican Food…Pizza, Not so Much
Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
About a year ago when I started contributing to ML, I came across Great Burrito. What a find! Of course, it had been previously covered by Jason in March 2010. I figured now was a good time to revisit and try some of the other items on the menu, and, why not the pizza?
After reading a little in the comments section of Jason’s post and on yelp about the pizza, AND after seeing it in person, I rethought my plan. Do I really need to try pizza that had been made who knows how long ago and then each slice topped individually? No, no I do not. Some deceased pizzaiolo in Naples are rolling over in their graves. Forget that. I’m sticking with Mexican food!
Some people might not appreciate the Desmond’s-level layer of grime at Great Burrito. Too bad. There is something magical about a tiny spot with chairs covered in decades-old plastic patterns and faux green marble covering the counters. Laminated floors with black and white patch work replaced by red squares in high-traffic areas add to the atmosphere.
In 2010, Jason wrote about the tacos, burritos, and the pizza. So I ordered two other main categories on the menu – huaraches and tortas.
I ordered the torta Great Burrito style ($6.00), which includes chicken, pork AND beef. Because why have one type of meat when you can have three. We were off to a good start with the torta bread and the meats grilled on the flat top, and then topped with “everything”. “Everything” includes guac, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapeños. This torta was as awesome as it looks in the photos – greasy and spicy with a lot of flavors going on.
For my huarache ($8.00), I asked the guy behind the counter what he recommended. He answered the beef and chicken are the two most popular. I responded that what is popular isn’t always the best. He just kinda stared back at me (and I assume he thought “No way I am recommending lengua to this white chick”) and suggested I do a combo of the two. A compromise.
The monster size of the huarache struck me immediately. It wasn’t thicker around the edge, like pizza crust (I have no idea if that is traditional or not, but it is my preference.) On top of the corn base was a layer of refried beans, the two meats, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, powdered cheese, sour cream in a squeeze bottle and hot sauce. The only thing I would have added was a couple lime wedges on the side. At essentially the same price of 3 tacos, I think it has to be a better deal. And since I didn’t and couldn’t finish it in one sitting, I can tell you it still tasted great at the end of the day after sitting on my desk a couple hours.
On my walk to and from Great Burrito, I was listening to Rick Bayless chat with Zach Brooks on the Food is the New Rock podcast (for those of you that already listen, yes, I am a few months behind. For those of you who don’t listen, you should. It is really funny to listen to Zach postulate on food, like an audio version of ML. And no, he isn’t paying me to say that.) Anyhoo, listening to Rick talk about Mexican food and the smell walking back really got me excited to eat my lunch. This food smelled amazing.
This is the place ML dreams are made of! If people seem to love Chipotle and Dos Toros so much, and they have a line out the door, we should be able to get a line out the door for Great Burrito. Shouldn’t be that hard… This place is tiny, and the food is good and cheap.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Three years later, Great Burrito has still go it!
- I love that I can get Great Burrito Style for no extra money.
- The huarache can keep going beyond just lunch.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I wish the pizza was a legit contender at Great Burrito
- Great Burrito’s decor isn’t helping their cause – spruce it up a little and the crowds would follow.
- Why won’t they recommend the lengua?
Great Burrito, 100 W 23rd St (btw. 6+7th), 212-243-0022