Oaxaca Mexican Grill Is Only Another Burrito Joint, But Not a Bad One

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Funny, this place doesn't remind me much of my Mexican vacation, he thinks as he stops and peers in the restaurant window.

Los Angeles has lots of Oaxacan food. New York has no Oaxacan food. Which is why I was excited to hear a new restaurant was opening northeast of Grand Central called Oaxaca Mexican Grill.

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Even when I learned that it was merely a burrito joint, I still held out hope that there'd be something Oaxacan about the menu. The bitter news is that there's zero Oaxacan about the menu, which makes it another epic case of cultural chutzpah, pilfering the name of Mexico's most flavorful state. It's culinary doublethink, or maybe I mean bait-and-switch.

The good news is that the burritos are ample and well-furnished, with a greater variety of choices in fillings, no extra charge for guacamole, and an availablitiy of burritos in two sizes, with two sorts of flour tortilla offered per size. The small burrito is more than enough for a sane person.

The place glimmers with stainless steel, and the t-shirted attendants are so excited they seem about to jump over the counter. Is Oaxaca trying to compete with Chipotle? The concept is nearly the same, with a few salads and tacos added to fill out a menu that is burrito-centric in the extreme.

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