We’re repeatedly reminded, ad nauseam, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But with the exception of bagels (which aren’t exactly the most nutritionally balanced foodstuff), we’ve found it hard to get overly enthused about our array of morning options. Cue Gotham West Market’s newest tenant, Choza Taqueria, which recently took over the small storefront vacated by Caroline Fidanza’s Little Chef. Overseen by Akhtar Nawab (who’s culturally Indian and French trained, but spent time at the helm of a succession of Mexican restaurants, such as La Esquina and La Cenita), Choza serves tasty, roadside-inspired fare well into the evening — such as Shrimp, Chicken, Lamb or Pork Tacos, Mahi Mahi Ceviche and cheesy Elote — but also offers a surprisingly sizable and diverse menu during breakfast.
There are Scrambled Egg-stuffed Tacos, a favorite in Texas, of course, the small but supple corn tortillas piled high with jack cheese, fresh pico de gallo, and your choice of meat (carnitas, chorizo, sausage or bacon). But be forewarned: spilling salsa down your shirt is a distinct possibility, so if you’re on your way to an important morning meaning, better go for one of the more easily portable, self-contained items. Hefty burritos are helmed in (just barely) by a thin, flour wrapper, but massive chunks of potato take up way too much retail space, compared to comparatively thin layers of egg and meat. Tortas (overstuffed Mexican sandwiches) are a steal for $4.60 — comprised of a wobbly egg omelet stacked on a chewy roll along with bean paste, guacamole, queso fresco, meat and guajillo chiles, you might want to consider saving half of it for lunch.
If that still sounds too potentially messy for your first meal, there are also two fork-friendly choices; a tin of Baked Eggs layered with potatoes, queso fresco, pico de gallo and either carnitas or calabacin (sautéed zucchini) and served with two corn tortillas on the side, or surprisingly tender Tamales, crowned with a poached egg, salsa, queso fresco and chili powder.
One thing’s for sure — they definitely beat our regular morning repasts of breakfast pastries, oatmeal packets and gut busting bagel bombs.