There’s a new pie taking Brooklyn by storm. It doesn’t have red or white sauce, cheese, or anchovies (usually). Instead, it has a huge tortilla, straight from the kitchens of Oaxaca. It also has black beans, queso oaxaca, and usually lettuce, peppers, meats, or salsa. Its name is tlayuda, not pizza, and it’s essentially the Mexican equivalent of the much-loved, lawsuit-starting New York classic.
I first had and heard of a tlayuda while visiting Mexicocina Agaveria (708 Washington Avenue), headed by Antonio Vilchis in Crown Heights. While they typically make everything in-house, the tlayuda tortilla comes to them straight from Oaxaca. By Vilchis’ own assessment, it isn’t a common thing to have on the menu (and in fact, it’s their off-menu special). It’s a dish that many New Yorkers can go their lives without seeing, but just let me strongly suggest that you should do everything in your power to prevent that from happening.
Just days after meeting the tlayuda at Mexicocina, I was introduced to another, at the new Park Slope “modern Oaxacan” restaurant Casa Azul (369 7th Avenue). The place, of course, serves the Oaxacan classic, true to its cuisine. It is also slathered in beans, with lettuce, tomato, avocado, green cabbage, and that gorgeous, thick queso Oaxaca. Like Mexicocina, you can have it vegetarian, or add meats like chicken, steak, or chorizo.
This isn’t easy to find. For example, a quick Seamless yields only one result for “tlayuda” (Burrito UrWay, if you’re wondering), and Google isn’t much more help.
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With some digging, it’s been discovered that long-time Kensington favorite La Loba Cantina (709 Church Avenue) also serves the dish—a potential pioneer in the tlayuda forefront in Brooklyn. Here, you can get the extra-large tortilla with cactus, chicken, or housemade chorizo, as well as a sip from their large selection of mezcals.
Well, you know what they say about threes. Brooklyn just may have a trend on its hands, and luckily, it’s a delicious trend. With two exciting new eateries serving up their versions of tlayuda, we’re excited to see what comes next.