The above poster was spotted in a storefront window in Kings Plaza Mall on Flatbush Avenue, indicating the imminent arrival of the first Southern Brooklyn Chipotle Mexican Grill.
The chain eatery has yet to announce the expansion on their website, but Chipotle fans from the area have been urging the company to set up shop on social media. Here’s a tweet from nearly a year ago asking the company to open up at Kings Plaza and Chipotle’s response:
There are other, more recent examples as well.
Until the location opens, the closest Chipotle location for Southern Brooklyn residents is in Cobble Hill, at 140 Court Street.
Thanks to Tina H. and Randy Contello for the photo and tip.
THE BITE: I order my Mexican fare solely from El Mexicano Restaurante, which I consider the best place in the neighborhood to get my taco and burrito fill. The delivery men are friendly, the food reasonably priced. So much so that fellow Bite writer Lenny Markh has already tackled the restaurant’s tacos for this column. But I still wanted to find an unexplored gem on their menu, so I took a tough look at it for this week’s piece and decided to give the Mexican Philly cheesesteak a shot.
Like so many Chinese restaurants in America, I noticed that El Mexicano’s menu also tries to appeal to the American palate by including items such as French fries and chicken wings. Looking at the photos of these American-style foods, they seemed uninspired – until my eyes fell up on the Mexican Philly cheesesteak. This is not something I would normally do. I trust them fully with guacamole, rice and beans, and any incarnation of tortilla or marinated pork, but sesame-seed sprinkled hoagies? It seemed suspect.
But this sandwich was amazing for take-out joint fare. The bread was toasted golden and slightly crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, holding in place marinated beef, salty queso blanco- a mild Mexican cheese similar to mozzarella – and a spicy mix of onions and peppers. Bonus tip: I also got a side of guacamole to go with this. This may have been an extravagant move, but I assure you they go well together.
In short, every bite of this enormous sandwich was delicious. I don’t know what possessed me to take this risk, but I’m really glad I did. I think I just learned an important lesson about… not judging a book by it’s cover?… or something…
El Mexicano Resaurante, 2102 East 15th Street, between Avenue U and Avenue V, (718) 676-2700 or (718) 676-2703.
– Sonia Rapaport
The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.
The much-anticipated Mexican-inspired eatery Jumpin’ Bean turned out to be a flop, closing its doors for good after less than six months in business.
Located at 3081 Emmons Avenue, the business had a troubled start. They planned for an October 2012 opening, but Sandy obliterated the interior, forcing them to start from scratch. After rebuilding, they finally opened in May to the delight of Latino cuisine lovers.
Unfortunately, they stumbled. Early reviews from our readers were not favorable. As time went on, most of their senior staff, including their general manager, went out the door.
The Department of Health closed the business in mid-September due to excessive health violations found during an inspection. They were reinspected a few days later and permitted to reopen. It’s unclear if they ever did, and now signage has been stripped from the building, as seen in the above photo sent to us by Bob D.
We first told you about Jumpin’ Bean, a new Mexican restaurant slated for 3081 Emmons Avenue, way back in early October. At the time, they had planned to open just a few weeks later.
Then Sandy hit. The entire interior needed to be redone, and all kitchen equipment replaced (the kitchen, mind you, is a few steps below street level).
It took some time, but the restaurant quietly opened its doors on Wednesday, and has asked us to spread the word to our readers.
On a related note, V & S Pizzeria on Emmons, and Munchinette and Delmar’s Pizzeria on Sheepshead Bay Road are all now open as well. Istanbul on Emmons Avenue should be opening any day now, if it’s not already.
I’m going to go get a margarita to celebrate the recovery!
THE BITE: A Mexican-Hawaiian take out restaurant? Only in New York City.
Empire Tortillas Aloha Teriyaki Grill (3556 Nostrand Avenue) is one of those anonymous storefront takeout joints that line Nostrand Avenue from Avenue U to Avenue Z. This nondescript takeout restaurant could pass for any cheap fast food joint, and I’ve passed it by for years, never giving it a thought.
Until recently that is.
One cold day last month, I stopped in for the first time. I was immediately greeted by the friendliest woman I’ve ever encountered in a takeout restaurant. It was an odd time of day and the staff was all seated at a small table and eating their lunch. As she stood to greet me, I explained that I was only picking up a menu and that I didn’t want to interrupt her meal. She handed me the menu saying, “Please come back, you’ll enjoy your food.”
Well, I have come back and I have enjoyed my food, mostly. But what continues to impress me most about Empire Tortillas Aloha Teriyaki Grill is the customer service. These folks are friendly and work to keep the customer happy.
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THE BITE: Twenty-twelve has to be the year the Mexican restaurant established itself in Sheepshead Bay. We’ve seen the opening of El Mexicano Restaurant, and the soon to be open Jumpin’ Bean on Emmons Avenue, as they join La Villita as part of the smattering of Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. I’ve also noticed a few Mexican food booths popping up in the various groceries and doughnut shops of Avenue U. I endorse this trend.
Tacos El Rey, while not quite in the neighborhood, and not quite new, is probably the granddaddy of them all. Located at 3168 Coney Island Avenue, this nondescript hole-in-the-wall has been quietly serving up authentic Mexican food for more than 10 years.
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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:The Bite exposes our magnanimous publisher’s super secret Mexican restaurant, El Jarochito located just outside of Sheepshead Bay’s borders at 195 Neptune Avenue. From the outside, one would expect a standard bodega, but it’s really a different story inside.
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