Bronx Eats: Tasty, Pocket Sized Gorditas in Mott Haven
It's becoming clearer with every jaunt around these streets that Mott Haven is a—if not the—hub of serious Mexican food in the Bronx. You have the city's most delicious carnitas, the Bronx's best tamales and a seriously savory consome de chivo, a fine panaderia, what is likely the city's only Oaxacan restaurant, a rare antojito, and more. Now we can add the pocket-sized gorditas sold by the window of San Pedro Ay'tec--so new it's still unlisted—on Willis Avenue, just past 138th Street.
The antojitos are for the most part nothing to seek out; though you are blessed with the benefit of freshly made tortillas and masa boats, the cook does not go the extra mile. Her gorditas ($2), however, are a perfectly constructed exception.
Smaller and rounder than many I've encountered, such as the flat ones peddled at the nearby La Morada, her gorditas are stuffed with the lettuce, onion, cheese, salsa, and crumbly, homemade chicharrones.
What separates this gordita from the pack is how well balanced the filling is. It doesn't spill out all over your shirt, nor does it skimp or overload you with the fatty, deep fried pork belly. And it does so in a small, tight package. These are gorditas that are ideal for snacking, especially in summer heat when you don't want or need too much of anything deep fried.
The masa cake itself is crisp and redolent of corn, yielding easily to your bite. A couple bites are necessary before you reach the porky payload, but boy is it worth it: crunchy and salty, the pork melts in your mouth but is far from greasy. These won't contend for title of best in the city, but they're ones we'd be more than happy to return for in a pinch.
About the author: Chris Crowley is the author of the Bronx Eats and Anatomy of A Smorgasburg Pop Up columns. Follow him on Twitter, if you'd like. In person, your best bet is the window seat at Neerob, or waiting in line at the Lechonera La Piranha trailer.