El Comal is a spacious, shiny taqueria and jugueria with one long kitchen open to the room, where a woman is stationed at the grill, patting out all manner of antojitos. A broken Spanish/broken English conversation yielded the information that the restaurant is new, although how new was unclear. Their first DOH inspection seems to have been in June, so it likely opened around then. It joins the many wonderful regional Mexican restaurants on that stretch of Fifth Avenue.
The woman standing at the griddle reaches into her huge vat of masa dough to fashion a steady stream of sopes, picaditas (similar to sopes, in that they are disks of masa with pinched-up sides, the better to hold the toppings), quesadillas (including one stuffed with flor de calabaza), and huaraches. There are also tacos with the standard fillings, tortas, cemitas, and a handful of seafood dishes, like shrimp with garlic, and meat offerings, like steak with cactus. Weekends seem like the best time to go, since that’s when El Comal simmers up mole de panza (belly), and pozole, and offers all-you-can-eat barbacoa for $8.
The huarache with chorizo ($3.50) is a marvelous rendition, the fresh masa turnover spotted with char, and stuffed with a thin layer of purple-ish black bean paste. The aromatic orange oil from the chorizo soaks into the center, making it pleasantly sodden.
4711 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-438-3060
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 8, 2009