295 Berry St., near S. Second St., Brooklyn, (718) 388-5988. Mon.-Thu. 12:30 p.m.-midnight, Fri.-Sun, 12:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Cuisine: Mexican street food
Vibe: Dingy taqueria
Occasion: Destination dining
Don’t miss dish: Mushroom quesadillas, enchiladas suizas
Average price: Appetizers, $4; entries $10.
Reservations: No reservations, cash only, BYOB.
To say La Superior is understated is an understatement. “Do you
think this is it?” a friend said nervously. We were standing outside a
dingy storefront on an empty street in Williamsburg. “It must be,” I answered cheerily. “I need a cocktail,” she grumbled as she followed me through the door.
didn’t have the heart to tell her that the restaurant doesn’t have a
liquor license. The dining room at La Superior looks like a diner on
its last legs. The table settings are disposable – red and blue plastic
plates, flimsy plastic cups, and supermarket napkins in plastic napkin
holders that might’ve been stolen from a Midwest Sunday dinner.
waiter Danny – who is also the bartender – handed us two menus. “This
is the real one and that’s a photocopy,” he grumbled. “We had problems
with the printer.” Both were illegible, salsa-stained sheets of paper.
The only words we could make out were guacamole, tacos and calle – in
other words, street food. Luckily, that’s all you need to know.
We started with the guacamole. What most restaurants serve has no
more taste than green sour cream. But this is more like avocado ceviche
– diced onions and tomatoes, cilantro, and Haas avocados from Michoacán, Mexico. It tasted unbelievably fresh, as if it had been made two seconds before it reached the table.
tortilla chips are just as good. And the quesadilla might be the best
five bucks you can spend on food. Especially the mushroom quesadilla
crowned with a flurry of Oaxaca cheese and Mexican crema. I ordered the enchiladas suizas – so-called because the topping supposedly looks like the Swiss Alps. It really resembles gentle swells in a tomatillo sea and it tastes like the Mexican equivalent of béchamel sauce.
pork taco isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s actually pork confit
accented with a hint of orange. The shrimp tacos are ablaze in a fiery
chipotle sauce. I advise pairing either of these with the cactus tacos,
which are filled coarse, cool pieces of nopal cactus topped with aged
cheese. La Superior also serves an off-the-cob side of corn in a
plastic cup – a savory parfait layered with Oaxaca cheese and homemade
For now, bring your own tequila. Danny will mix it
with agua de limo – made with boiled limes, skin and all – or a berry
red juice made from prickly pear. This is sublime Mexican street food
with the luxury of a roof and a scattering of small tables.
The General Greene
229 DeKalb Ave., near Clermont Ave., Brooklyn, (718) 222-1510.
5 p.m.-11 p.m., Thu., 5 p.m.-midnight, Fri-Sat., 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Closed Mond.
Cuisine: New American
Vibe: Lively neighborhood haunt
Occasion: Casual bite
Don’t miss dish: Radishes with sea salt and anchovies, chocolate chip cookies.
Average price: Appetizers, $6; entrees, $10; dessert, $7.
Reservations: Accepted for six or more.
The General Greene in Fort Greene
is nearly as budget-friendly as La Superior. But the food’s not nearly
as good. Never mind the crowd waiting to get in. They don’t know what
they’re waiting for.
Dishes come out of the kitchen helter skelter, all at once – as if
the servers had somewhere better to be. It’s a small-plate menu that
provides no structure for the meal. The appetizers could be entrees.
The entrees could be hors d’oeuvres. Some food is well-prepared, like
radishes with sea salt and chopped anchovies.
But some is
downright dangerous. The red mullet is so bony it should’ve come with a
warning label. The grilled shrimp are so overcooked they became one
with their shells. Perhaps the best thing on the menu is the chocolate
chip cookies, which have a surprisingly salty crunch. Order one as an