Food Truck: Haab NYC
Sighting: 47th and Park
I have sort of the same relationship with Mexican food as I do with Indian food–I don’t necessarily find myself craving it very often but there have been moments in my life when I’ve had really, really good Mexican food and
The Haab NYC truck is an interesting one in that it’s fairly nondescript. It’s actually hard to tell at first sight what nationality it represents–there’s a faded, barely-readable sign on top that say “Tacos” and the front of the truck says “haab”. The truck looks like it was outfitted with neon lights that say things like “Patty’s” and “Taco’s” but those lights are never turned on. By the window there’s a sign that says “Aguas Frescas” and underneath it “Jamaica Soda”.
A lot of people think that what you find at Chipolte, Qdoba, and Baha Fresh is real Mexican food, but that’s like saying that what you find at P.F. Chang’s or Panda Express is real Chinese food (hint: it’s not). When I was in southern California I had the pleasure of going to some authentic Mexican eateries and have enjoyed (they’re usually tiny holes in the ground, the tinier the better).
As with many food trucks, this one is essentially the mobile version of a restaurant. Haab NYC itself is a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn (East Williamsburg to be exact). If you read the Yelp reviews, you’ll get the typical kvetching about service and alcohol, but the reviews of the food itself are mostly very good.
The menu is pretty intimidating when you first look at it. I like food trucks with a simple list of choices or if that’s not possible, a simple process to order. Haab NYC lists out every single food option on their menu, about 50 total menu items to choose from. But it’s a little less intimidating when you look at them in their basic food groups: Tacos, Quesadillas, Tortas, Burritos, Enchiladas, Fajitas.
I asked the woman at the window what the most popular entrees are and she told me the burritos, specifically the Crazy Burrito and the California Burrito. Because I never like to hold up a food truck line I panicked and just told her I wanted the Crazy. Turns out the difference is that Crazy = Chorizo and California = Steak. While I probably would have preferred the steak, the chorizo was just fine with me. I also ordered one of those Jamaican sodas.
The wait wasn’t too bad, under 5 minutes. Pretty impressive given that there were two people ahead of me in line and my burrito wasn’t “pre-wrapped”.
Here’s what the platter looked like back at my desk:
And the innards.
As you can see, this was a real honest-to-goodness burrito, stuffed to every last millimeter with goodness. While it still paled in comparison to the burritos I had in Southern California, it was worlds better than what I’d find at places like Chipolte as far as the seasoning, the taste, and the portions (which was dangerously nap-inducing in the office). I also appreciated the side of guacamole and fresh salsa.
By the end of my meal I was as stuffed as that burrito and very, very satisfied.
4.5 of 5 stars.
Price I paid: $9.50
Line: 5 minutes
Tricks for fast ordering: Study the extensive menu in advance and while a lot of the menu is in English, make sure your Spanish is up-to-date for those things that have no translation. Chorizo=sausage. Carnitas=braised pork, Al Pastor=thinly sliced pork shoulder, Chilquiles=stuff over cut tortillas, Guacamole=yummy
What to order if you’re a newbie: California Burrito or Crazy Burrito
On the Web:
Haab NYC (Website appears to currently be down)