Editor’s Note: Our first guest blog comes courtesy of Nadia Reiman, a self-proclaimed taco snob of Mexican-Chilean stock. Apparently there isn’t a taco in North Brooklyn that she hasn’t tried. For her regular contributions to this blog, Nadia will be hunting down the best Mexican food Brooklyn has to offer.
Her first entry is about La Superior: 295 Berry Street Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
I am not one to believe the hype, especially the crackly dried tortilla-wrapped, overseasoned-ground-beef-gushing Brooklyn taco hype. And let’s face it, there’s a lot of it. But hey, that’s how it is, right? When it comes to restaurants, we are the land of plenty. In fact, we are the land of oversaturation. And thus, the hype is born.
It seems like you can’t go a block in Williamsburg without hitting a taco truck or restaurant of some sort. They all claim to have it down right: street tacos, fusion tacos, fish tacos, grilled seitan asada tacos. But for a Latina girl that grew up with a Mexican dad making chilaquiles every Sunday, you do not have it right. When I moved to the BK, I made it my business to find the flavors that reminded me of home. I grew up with double-tortilla-wrapped carnita morsels of heaven topped with fresh cilantro. I grew up with a million small salsas, each with their own back story and bases of smoked chiles, tomatillos, and even habaneros.
So when I got here, I ate at every single truck and stand I could find—and they all had the same problems. Salt does not equal flavor, people. Also, what is up with these giant crackly tortillas? Tacos are the food of beer Gods: to be eaten many at a time with a chilled one, each soft small corn island a bite-size of awesome star fillings. I also found even the best places that were reviewed, ranted and raved about, to have consistency problems: sure, some had ok fish tacos but really despicable carnitas. Some would be good if only they changed their tortillas. Some had the potential for a good cochinita pibil but none of the balance of smoky, banana-leaf-wrapped full-bodied flavor.
And then I heard about La Superior. This is the real deal, my friends claimed. And I love my gringo friends, but I was like, “OK guys, but you also ate at Calexico.” So when I arrived at the small, red space at South 1st and Berry, I was skeptical. The atmosphere was great, that was for sure: it had one of those taco boards that I had seen in Mexico City growing up listing all of the tacos as one would there: rajas, tinga de pollo, al pastor. Their menu even warned, “Do not eat the banana leaves.” Very cute, but I’ve been fooled by “authentic-looking” joints before. Then I started eating.
Now, I am not a salad type of girl. When my friends and I go out to eat, we are out to eat everything—and La Superior was no exception. My friend and fellow taco snob and I went and we threw down, ordering almost every taco on the menu. I can honestly say that La Superior proved its hype. Every taco that I had tasted differently than the one before, each one their own corn island of awesome. The first thing I noticed is that these tacos were taco-sized. The tortillas were soft and luscious, and each taco was topped with their chopped cilantro and onion garnish, like God intended—except for the cochinita pibil, which had its pickled onion topping, as it should have. Their carnitas were tasty and tender, not too dry, and perfect in spice and not salt. Their camarones con chipotle were tasty—though a bit heavy on the chipotle, and their al pastor had a good pork-to-pineapple ratio. I was thrilled to see rajas on the menu—and to see that they were done right. Perfectly cooked with crema and just slightly undersalted. They also offered the many salsas I so know and love to top their respective tacos.
It was obvious that La Superior’s owners, Iris Avelar and Felipe Mendez know and love Mexico City in all of its taco glory. Sure, not everything is perfect at La Superior—I actually like Hecho En Dumbo’s cochinita pibil better and their tinga de pollo was good but not as amazing as everything else—but it was pretty damn close. For tacos in Williamsburg, I go nowhere else.