Photo: Erica Sherman
THE BITE: Mexican food is sprouting, slowly but surely, in the neighborhood. And they’re taking an interesting path into the food scene.
Don’t look for traditional “restaurants.” Look instead to the back of bodegas, like El Jarochito, or, strangely enough, in doughnut shops.
At Shaikh’s Place, though you may not know it, you can find some of the tastiest tacos in the neighborhood alongside their beloved doughnuts. Just up Avenue U, at El Mexicano Restaurant Y Panaderia Mexicana (1607 Avenue U) they find their toughest competitor. Located in back of Doughnut Connection, El Mexicano Restaurant Y Panaderia Mexicana kicks the game up a notch.
Unlike Shaikh’s Place, where the tacos are just part of the menu, El Mexicano Restaurant Y Panaderia Mexicana has dedicated a large portion of the floor space to a Mexican fast food counter. A true Mexican restaurant lurks here in this mini-food court of Avenue U.
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THE BITE: This week we try out another of the neighborhood’s kebab joints and dive into Aziza 7. I wonder where the other six are? Located at 2113 Avenue Z, Aziza 7 is a bit off the beaten path and its decor and lighting reminds me more of of hair salon than a restaurant, but I’ve been hearing good things.
Chicken tabaka ($7) is a Georgian dish where a spatchcocked chicken is cooked in a heavy cast iron skillet, or a “tapha” as it’s called in Georgia. Poking around on the interwebs, tabaka translates from Russian to tobacco in English. Odd name for a dish, huh? Not very appetizing to this non-smoker. But don’t let the name fool you. This chicken tabaka is one mighty tasty dish.
To make chicken tabaka, one must first spatchcock a chicken. That’s not a sexual term, F_a_b_a. It’s a culinary technique where one removes the backbone and sternum of the chicken prior to cooking, which allows it to cook more evenly.
Cooking lessons? What’s going on with The Bite?
Photo by Arthur Borko
Restaurant Sabor Latino may not be open yet, but it’s already causing us to drool in anticipation of its Latin rotisserie chicken. Obviously signage is up at 3715 Nostrand Avenue, and they recently requested permission to serve booze. No one answered the phone, so we’re not yet sure when they’ll be opening doors.
The location was previously occupied by Metro Electronics, a computer and television repair shop.