It is sometimes said that a good cheesemonger can tell, to the hour, when a wheel of camembert should be eaten. An expert’s deep understanding of ripening agents, bloomy rinds, and complex environmental conditions allows him or her to zero in on a cheese’s zenith, so you can schedule your dinner party around a wedge of Roquefort or a Lazy Lady goat and ensure optimal eating.
The new grab-n-go taqueria in the East Village, Otto’s Tacos (141 Second Avenue, 646-678-4018), has a similar way with avocados. You get the sense that the cooks here have an intimate knowledge of the fruit’s lifespan, so they can detect the ideal level of ripeness to transform the buttery flesh to a rough green mash.
In a world of guacamole laced with peas, pomegranate seeds, and blue cheese, the version here — made with a pinch of finely diced serrano and white onion, julienned sprinkles of cilantro, salt and lime — is refreshingly restrained. Served in little plastic to-go tubs with freshly-fried chips that taste strangely like popcorn ($3.75), you will try and save some for later and, happily, fail.
Oh, and the tacos are pretty good, too.
Scarlett Lindeman is a Brooklyn-based writer, covering the city’s best taquerias, fondas, and cantinas.