241 Third Ave, Manhattan
The only thing Michael "Bao" Huynh likes more than opening new restaurants is coming up with bad puns. There are his many Baoguette restaurants, of course, which specialize in banh mi sandwiches and bowls of hot pho. Soon to open: BaoBQ and Pho Sure (no, I'm not kidding). Luckily, his cooking is usually more impressive than his wit.
Well, not his cooking exactly. They guy putting together the Asian-Mex food at Baoritto looks more like a jaded dropout working at a fast food joint. If service at Baoritto is a little lackluster, at least the burritos—excuse me, baorittos—are tasty, plus the spot is little more than a take-out joint, so most diners don't exactly expect four-star accommodations.
Burritos here are more like wraps, spirals filled with beans, rice and whatever filling you choose. If you're looking for gut-busting meat bombs, look elsewhere; ingredients are pretty evenly mixed and, while still filling, won't conjure up comparisons to any San Francisco burrito joints anytime soon. I had a combination of lemongrass-flavored ground beef, green mango salsa and basil. The balancing act between sweet and savory is perfect, none of the flavors overshadowing the others. My only gripe is that I wished it was filled with, say, charred carne asada instead ground beef. The last time I had ground beef in a burrito was at Taco Bell, and that was at least 10 years ago. Still, it's a pretty flavorful burrito at a reasonable (by New York standards) price, $7. Even better was the spicy braised short rib, which had much more of a kick thanks the charred scallion and horseradish creme fraiche, which cut the heavy meatiness of the braised short rib nicely.
Sadly, Baoritto doesn't seem to have a liquor license, so downing a cold Mexican or Asian beer with your burrito isn't an option. There are, however, plenty of Jarritos, the brightly colored Mexican soda that come in flavors like guava and tamarind. Do yourself a favor and grab one along with your burrito and take it all to go, as it's the food, not the ambience, that makes Baoritto worth visiting.