Mexican Eats: Taqueria Izucar
Taqueria Izucar, a mini-eatery under the JMZ train in Bushwick, offers a minimalist brand of taco. It's a taco in its truest form: hot corn tortillas, a wisp of perfectly seasoned meat, a drop of salsa, a crunch of white onion, hitting a sweet spot so many miss. It is miles away from shredded orange cheese and limp strands of iceburg lettuce. For those who are used to tacos sporting salad, Izucar's simplicity can be a revelation.
The restaurant is a true hole-in-the-wall, a closet of a space that looks like the first lemonade stand you cobbled together with found plywood and scrap nails, though recently they've spruced up the place with an illuminated menu that beams down glossy photos of their dishes. With five minuscule stools that are always occupied, you'll have to jostle for space to put in your order.
There are tortas, tostadas, and burritos, of course, but everyone comes for the tacos, just $1 each. Order a plate of the fat-bulbed spring onions, served grilled and sweet, sprinkled with salt and piled like French fries on the plate. The tortillas are perfectly tiny, allowing stomach space to try a variety of different meats. The suadero, braised veal marinated in vinegar, lime, salt, and pepper, is one of the house favorites, as is the al pastor, which comes with slivers of pineapple only by request. The al pastor is properly cut into delicate shavings from a rotating spit and the chorizo has the animaly funk of good sausage. Minced onion and plucked cilantro are the only taco adornments beside the red sauce, a smoky slurry of chipotle peppers that will have you wincing in pleasure.
Occasionally, they offer a house-made tepache, a kind of fermented agua fresca, that uses the spiny husks of pineapple, sugar, and water, turned with time into a effervescent and snappy drink akin to kombucha. Added bonus: If you go during the holidays there's a gift slipped into your to-go bag: an adorable 2012 Taqueria Izucar kitty calendar.
1503 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11237 (map)