Behold the mighty tlayuda, one of the world’s great delicious discs. This Oaxacan specialty has been called a Mexican pizza because it’s adorned with meat, cheese, and other toppings. But the base is made from corn, not wheat, and it isn’t yeasted but flat as a cracker. So, a tostada? Not at all. Tostadas are fried, while tlayudas are crisped on a comal, then painted with a black bean spread to keep all the toppings in place.
Tlayudas are popping up everywhere from Cruz Blanca Brewery to Dove’s Luncheonette, but one of the best (if not the best) is at Chile Toreado. There are meat and veggie versions, and the latter ($10.50) thrilled us with the riotous textural contrasts of roasted squash and potatoes, pickled onions, and tender poblano strips, and the great crisp cragginess of the corn base.
Chile Toreado, the latest spot from brothers Jaime and Alfonso Sotelo (5 Rabanitos, Fiesta Tamaleria), is a sweet place, bright and friendly, where you can have a lovingly constructed chicken milanesa torta ($10.25) and choose from a long list of Mexican beers and agave spirits. The entrées didn’t quite live up to the promise of the more casual fare — the green garlic mojo shrimp ($16.75) needed better shrimp, and the cochinita pibil ($16) tasted too much of salt and not enough of achiote. That tlayuda, though.