When Taqueria Xochimilco slipped away a month or so ago, I was crestfallen. Xochimilco was a great restaurant, often in the shadows of Sunset Park's Tacos Matamoros which lies directly across the street. Nevertheless, it was on most people's radar for their tacos de canasta (delicate folds cradling chile-spiked potato or luscious chicharron), and their pambazos (chorizo and potato sandwiches, French-dipped into orange chili sauce instead of beef jus. These dishes revealed the dexterity of the kitchen and the roots of the owner, who is from the country's capital, Mexico City. Since, D.F.-style cuisine is largely underrepresented in our cities' diaspora, the loss was a sharp sting.
Taqueria la Paz has opened in its place, with new owners, a different menu, and a cheery awning featuring a hard-shell taco wearing a mustache and sombrero. They sell agua frescas on the street outside. The menu is smaller and now anchored by breakfast: bagels with butter, pancakes, and spinach and mushroom omelets. Chilaquiles, tacos, salads, and tortas round out the menu, with a handwritten list of larger plates.
The picadita($2.50), hand-molded corn patties the size of a coaster, was crunchy, though soggy within, like a blackened pancake with still gooey insides. And the gordita($2.50), crisp and pleasantly greasy, stuffed with lettuce, a slice of avocado, and braised chicken tinga didn't register a blip on the palate. The free basket of chips come with a benign pico de gallo. Ask for the salsa roja or verde, instead.
Taqueria La Paz
4501 5th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11220 (map) 718-435-7600
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