I was invited to try a new taqueria in Flatiron, so on Friday night, my roommate and I headed to Choza Taqueria on Madison between 27th and 28th.
Now, you may have heard of Choza before if you work downtown. Â There is a Choza down by the Brooklyn Bridge as part of the open air cafe. Â That location is now closed for the season, but if you are looking for some delicious tacos, you may want to head over to Flatiron.
When we walked in, I thought that the restaurant may still have been under construction, since the tile isn’t completely finished on the ground and the place looks a little rustic. Â Instead, this is the look that the owner, Dominic, was going for. Â As a child growing up in California, he traveled to Mexico a lot, and remembered eating delicious tacos at these no-frills establishments, and as a result decided to create that kind of atmosphere. Â There is some counter seating at the restaurant, as well as three tables, which seat 2 people comfortable per table.
Dominic suggested we could either order off the menu, or he would create a tasting menu. Â We went with the tasting menu and he grabbed a few Jarritos, or Mexican sodas for us to start. Â He brought over his three favorite flavors – tamarind, mandarin, and grapefruit. Â These sodas are made with natural cane sugar, so they are a bit sweeter. Â My favorite was the grapefruit, which tasted like a light Sprite. Â Mandarin was obviously like an orange soda, and I felt like the tamarind flavor was more like a peach ice tea.
We kicked off the meal with tacos – which were $6.89 for three tacos. Â If you are wondering why the prices are a little weird, it’s so that the grand total with tax always ends in a multiple of 25 cents. Â I thought that was pretty smart! Â Al and I each tried carnitas, carne asada and pollo tacos. Â One of the pollo tacos were a grilled chicken with a sofrito corn and cilantro puree – I thought this had a really nice spicy kick to it, and liked that it was pieces of chicken, rather than shredded chicken. Â I also liked that there were two tortillas on every taco so your taco kept together nicely, and I also appreciated that these tortillas came in from Queens, where they were made from real corn shipped in from Mexico.
If you are going to go with the tacos, I felt that the carne asada was phenomenal, and it was my roommate’s favorite as well. Â It was accompanied with a pico de gallo and a guajillo salsa. Â I also enjoyed the flavors of the carnitas, and found it to be a pretty juicy taco since there were some pickled veggies on top. Â I’d advise eating that taco in the comfort of your cube, unless your comfortable with the people you are eating with, because there definitely was some juice running down my chin. Â When I spoke with the owner about it, he said when he’s tried to make this particular taco less juicy, some complained that it wasn’t authentic enough. Â Despite me running through some extra napkins, I thought the flavors were much better than the shredded pollo taco. Â If getting tacos from Choza, I’d definitely go with the carne asada, followed by the carnitas and then the pollo. Â Check though to see what the special taco is as well.
We got some guac and salsa fresca on the side, and the guac was my favorite. Â The guac had a good level of spice to it, and wasn’t overpowering with onion, like most guacamoles. Â I also enjoyed that there was a really good lime flavor.
We also got to try the grilled corn, which was covered in a sauce like a spicy lime mayo, and queso fresco. Â Oh my god this was heaven. Â I’m not a corn on the cob person, but I would definitely order this again. Â Part of the ear of corn was on a stick so it wasn’t messy.
A beef tamale came out as well – which was $3. Â Now, I’m not a tamale person, so I’m really not sure how this compares to other tamales. Â It’s a bit of a heavier dish – it’s dough with meat in the middle – so was perfect as a side dish or a snack to taste and share with a friend, but probably not the best dish to eat alone since I’m sure I would have felt extremely full afterwards.
As someone who used to work nearby, I think Choza is a great addition to the neighborhood and an affordable lunch spot, or a quick dinner. Â The food was delicious, didn’t put me in a food coma, and felt much healthier and fresher than any Mexican chain restaurant. Â If you like Mexican, swing by, get some guac or corn and three tacos, and you’ll have a wonderful meal (and sorry there are no pictures of the tacos – I ate them too fast).The Basics Name: Choza Taqueria Location: 66 Madison Ave, between 27th and 28th Who to Bring: Self, Co-workers, Friends Price: $ Nothing over $10 Overall: Big fan. 4.5 stars. Â Would definitely return.