Fast & Fresh Burrito Deli is a five-year-old Mexican restaurant in Boerum Hill run by a family from Tlaxcala, Mexico. Though most of the business here is take-out and delivery, there's a slim counter to perch at, and a large backyard for languorous taco-eating when the weather is nice. When your friends want Mile End but there's nowhere to sit, cross the street and show them real satisfaction. A craving for pastrami can be easily assuaged by salted beef cecina.
A steam table is set up in front of the kitchen line, keeping grilled beef with onions and peppers, pollo en chile verde, and rice and beans out of the danger zone. The large menu is anchored by breakfast: egg plates, bagels, fresh juices, even omelets ($5.50) filled with things like grilled poblano peppers and jalapenos served with rice and beans, tortillas on the side. Breakfast burritos ($5.50) are plump specimens, stuffed with chorizo-dotted eggs and Oaxacan cheese. The cooks have a way with chicken, on-the-bone pieces braised in a green sauce or shredded into the fiery chicken stew, tinga. Even tucked into a chicken taco ($2.50), a usual dump for bland, dry meat, the mix of white and dark meat is plump and succulent, licked with a rich chile sauce.
Tamales ($2), especially if you get them on the day they're made, are quite good, drying out as they languish in the refrigerator but usually moist and flavorful. They're shot through with shreds of pork in a dark chile sauce or chicken in a lighter, tomato-based chile sauce. The kitchen shines in their sauces and stews, where the balance of spice, heat, and acid really comes into play. Their green salsa blooms with a bright green flavor, tart and raw from tomatillos, green chiles, and cilantro, given body from an avocado or two. It's a clean, refreshing flavor that demands freshly fried tortilla chips. It also pairs well with other simple preparations like the vegetable tostadas (3 to a plate, $7) laden with avocado, black beans, nopales, lettuce, crema, and cheese. Another bonus: the refrigerator is well-stocked with Mexican and domestic beer.
And their namesake? The burritos come as properly-wrapped tubes, so you can tear off the top paper and work your way down. Bulging with rice, black beans, and any choice of meat, the burritos are garnished with just a bit of cheese, a shmear of cream, and a bit of shredded lettuce. The large flour tortillas are good, though a tad dry. The finely-ground chorizo, which is so heavily spiced with black pepper, cumin, coriander, clove, and cinnamon that it tastes almost Indian, is fantastic. The crispy, spicy chorizo bits leak an orange oil that seeps into the flour tortilla and ensures a nicely juicy experience.
If sitting outside with the drizzle blocked by a tented awing, with a can of Modelo Especial and a flight of tacos in hand, offers a pleasant winter escape, just think about the possibilities this summer.
Fast and Fresh Burrito Deli
84 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 (map)