Outdoor Dining at Xilonen and Oxomoco in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Oxomoco, a Michelin star Mexican restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, makes the best steak tacos in the city. When I ate my steak tacos, I was immediately floored. Everything about the taco was perfect–the sauce, the seasoning, the melty texture of the meat. Melt-in-your-mouth is an overused description when it comes to excellent meat, but in this case, it was totally appropriate.

I thought the other items in our brunch order at Oxomoco were solid, but they didn’t speak to me in the way that the steak tacos did. While eating the carnitas tacos, I kept wishing I were eating the steak ones instead.

The soya marinated tuna tostada was pretty good, and I’d probably order this again on a future visit. I can’t say the same about the unwieldy chorizo and egg burrito. It was fine but it almost felt like it was being offered for the sake of making the Oxomoco menu feel more like brunch. Oxomoco is better when it keeps things simple and refined.

What struck me about the menu at Oxomoco is how it leaned more vegetarian than meat. In fact, our order covered the entire protein options at Oxomoco. I am guilty of thinking that a Mexican meal should consist of guac and chips and meat tacos, which explains why I didn’t give the oyster mushroom quesadilla or beet chorizo a second glance.

That wasn’t the case at Xilonen, a new Mexican restaurant from the Oxomoco team that exclusively features vegetarian options. I went with my eyes wide open, as it was made very clear in various press releases that the food is vegetarian and mostly vegan.

I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by anything here. Oxomoco had those steak tacos, and lightning doesn’t really strike twice, does it? Well, in this case, it almost did. The scrambled egg tostada was on fire. Not quite as lit as the steak tacos at Oxomoco, but pretty close.

The masa pancakes were also a big hit. When I first read that description “masa”, I expected something very mealy and grainy, like round wheels of buckwheat. It certainly wasn’t some light, fluffy breakfast pancake. It wasn’t too sweet and it was a little mealier than some, but it was pretty great.

On the other hand, I’d probably skip the chorizo quesadilla. There was a lot of bright green sauce squirted across, and the texture was decent, but I was still craving an actual chorizo in the end, not a tofu one. The guacamole, you have to be in a certain mood for. If you like your guac herbaceous and textured, with lots of leaves and seeds, then this is exactly your thing. If you’re into the creamy Dos Caminos style, then you’ll be disappointed. Instead of generous amounts of triangular chips, it arrives with a spare amount of three large tortilla discs.

I was pretty excited about the churros on the menu. These Xilonen churros feel very dense and richly fried, like the kind you’d find at a street fair, not at a fancy churreria. It comes with a side of thick and sinfully rich Oaxacan chocolate that make it clear it’s a cheat day today.

Xilonen just opened, so right now it’s only open for breakfast and lunch, and everything is served in takeout boxes. They also do not have their liquor license yet, but they do make a mean horchata that is not too sweet. If their scrambled egg tostada is any sign of their dinner potential, then an evening visit is in order.

128 Greenpoint Ave (between Manhattan Ave and Franklin St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(646) 688-4180
Make reservations here.

905 Lorimer Street (between Nassau Ave and Norman Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Walk-ins only.