My 5 Favorite NYC Burritos


How about a burrito for breakfast, at Downtown Bakery?

Admire the burrito in its multiplicity: A burrito is like an emergency food ration — for five people. A burrito is more about more. A burrito satisfies beyond the capacity of a mere sandwich. A burrito keeps its charms to itself, until you tear it apart. A burrito is the ultimate portable meal. Good burritos (but not great ones, some argue) are to be found every couple of blocks. But why, oh, why do we not have deep-fried burritos, like Denver? Here are my five favorites.

5. Breakfast Burrito With Eggs, Potatoes, Jack Cheese, and Sausage at Downtown Bakery (above) — Bite down on this baby and, expecting chorizo, discover that it’s really Italian sausage. This wonderful East Village Mexican café evolved out of an Italian bakery nearly 15 years ago, and the sausage may reflect the previous tenants. O blessed fusion! (And no you don’t have to eat it with the knife and fork provided.) 69 First Avenue, 212-254-1757

4. Beef Colorado Burrito at Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen — This magnificent burrito, stuffed with Sonoran-style chili-stewed beef along with beans and cheese, is served with the rice and greenery on the side, rather than inside. And the dribble of chili gravy on top is an added boon. 110 Sixth Avenue, 212-966-1326

3. Lengua Burrito at Tulcingo del Valle — No-frills is the route this starchy cylinder takes, confining its fillings to moist yellow rice, oozy white cheese, and the tenderest beef tongue on this side of the planet. 665 Tenth Avenue, 212-262-5173

2. Carne Enchilada Burrito at Cholulita Deli — The startling appearance of french fries right next to your bulging burrito stuffed with spicy pork is indication that the proprietors of this south Pueblan bodega believe that the burrito is really an American invention, and not part of the Mexican-food canon proper. And they’re right. 888 Broadway, Brooklyn, 347-435-0813

1. Carne Asada Burrito at Dos Toros — Anyone who tosses guac in the burrito (in this case, for a dollar extra) has the battle half won. The gloppiness of the package combined with the smoky flavor of the grilled steak make this wonderful gutbomb the city’s most perfect burrito, and the California heritage of the Dos Toros chain is your proof of authenticity. This may be the world’s most perfectly balanced and nutritious food. 11 Carmine Street, 212-627-2051; 1111 Lexington Avenue, 212-535-4658; 137 Fourth Avenue, 212-677-7300