Tortilleria Nixtamal

Saturday we had what surprisingly turned out to be the best tacos in New York at Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona, Queens. All the other tacos in the city use tortillas made from factory-made masa harina, but Nixtamal takes corn and cooks it with limestone to make the tortillas, making these the only tortillas in the city that are made from scratch. I didn’t expect all the food to taste so different.

But everything was fresher and better — even than the tacos in our Mexican neighborhood in Brooklyn, Sunset Park. The shrimp taco with crema tasted as though someone had turned up the volume on a taco and made all the colors brighter. I never call food a revelation, but the nachos were a revelation: different, it seemed, from all the other nachos in the United States. The cheese was actually Mexican cheese, and stringy (and sparse). The beans and tomatoes and peppers were fresh vegetables I would actually want to eat. There were lavish chunks of avocado on top, and the whole nacho plate tasted — er, like a good lunch — or dinner! –, not junk.

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