Mr. Sato tries tostadas for the first time and falls in love with the tacos at Tortilla Club Tortilleria.

Tokyo is often, and rightly, called one of the world’s great cities to eat in. Aside from the myriad types of Japanese on offer, you can find excellent restaurants serving delicious food from a variety of world cuisines, such as Chinese, Italian, Indian, and French.

But if there’s one thing that foodies often find lacking in Tokyo, it’s Mexican food. Mexican restaurants are few and far between in Tokyo, so when our ace reporter Mr. Sato found out about a new one, called Tortilla Club Tortilleria, that’s opened in Tokyo’s downtown Yoyogi Uehara neighborhood, he went to check it out.

You’ll find Tortilleria across the street from the south exit of Yoyogi Uehara Station…or maybe you won’t find it, since the restaurant’s exterior is very low-key.

▼ Even with the arrow we added to this photo, the place doesn’t stand out, visually, from the outside.

So you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for the restaurant’s standing sign…

…and subtle clues like the cactus and earth tones.

And Mr. Sato really knew he was in the right place when we walked in and could see that Tortilleria has a legitimate earthenware comal, the traditional flat griddle used in Mexican cooking to make tortillas.

That’s because Tortilleria cooks up its own tortillas, made with cornmeal, right there in the restaurant. In addition to side orders like tortilla soup and quesadillas, they offer four tortilla-based main dishes: tacos, mini sopes, tostadas, and mini gorditas.

All of them are priced at 1,100 yen (US$6.95) for two. Once you choose your tortilla style, you also pick the filling: meat, vegetable, or “meat & veggie,” with the third option using different meats and vegetables than the first two.

Aside from tacos, Mr. Sato had never had any of the on-offer tortilla styles, so he opted for tostadas, one meat and one vegetable, and grabbed a seat on the patio.

The tortillas were an eye-catching purple and gold combination, and there was another variety of colors in the salsa selection on the table, where you’re given with salsa roja (made with red chilis and garlic), salsa verde (green chilies and avocado), and salsa macha (chilies and roasted peanuts), plus a bowl of cilantro.

▼ To Mr. Sato’s surprise, the refreshing-looking salsa verde turned out to be the spiciest of the trio.

As a tostada newbie, Mr. Sato had a little trouble picking up the crisp tortilla without snapping or spilling it, but once he had it in hand, it was smooth sailing/eating from there. Tortilleria’s meat tortillas dishes come with shredded carnitas pork, and their veggie ones with baby corn and green beans. With the spice of the salsa contrasting and accentuating the carnitas, and the crisp satisfying snap as he bit into the tortilla, Mr. Sato was very happy with his first tostada experience.

As seasoned Mexican food fans might have guessed from the baby corn and green bean combo, Tortilleria isn’t averse to experimenting with non-traditional ingredients, and it turns out there was one more…

…hummus, middle-eastern chickpea paste.

Unorthodox though it may be to put in a tostada, Mr. Sato found the presence of hummus delightfully delicious thanks to its rich, creamy flavor. As a matter of fact, Mr. Sato was so happy with what he’d eaten so far that he decided he had room for some tacos, too, so he ordered a plate, this time with the “meat & veggie” filling for both.

Like we mentioned above, Tortilleria’s “meat & veggie” isn’t actually a combination of its singular meat and vegetable options. Instead, it’s a third entity, with lotus root and ground meat sauteed in a honey mustard seasoning.

▼ Like we said, Tortilleria isn’t averse to experimenting.

Mr. Sato had already been pleased with his tostadas, but Tortilleria’s tacos were on an even higher plane, among his favorite tacos he’s ever had!

Now, if you’re a taco purist, you might be shaking your head at this. If something as non-traditional as “honey mustard lotus root tacos” get top marks from Mr. Sato, you might take that as a sign that he doesn’t know what a real taco is supposed to taste like. But what you should know is that what made Mr. Sato so impressed with Tortilleria’s tacos is the tortillas themselves. Being soft instead of fried like in the tostadas, these fresh-cooked marvels had an enticing texture, with just the right bit of firmness to the dough, and an enticing corn flavor that had Mr. Sato already looking forward to enjoying them again in the near future, maybe on a warm summer day with an ice-cold beer accompanying them.

Still, if no matter how good Tortilleria’s tortillas are, we can understand if both their vegetable and “meat & veggie” fillings are too out-there for your tastes, and the meat filling, with carnitas only, might be too plain. Even then, though, Tortilleria is still worth a visit, since they also sell packs of their in-restaurant-made tortillas, either fresh or frozen, as well as well as masa (cornmeal dough).

▼ Fresh tortillas are 500 yen for 100 grams (roughly six tortillas). Frozen tortillas are 5 for 500 or 10 for 900, and masa is 1,000 yen for 200 grams. You can get carnitas to go too.

So even if you look at Tortilleria’s food and think “I could make better Mexican food than that at home!”, they can still supply you with the tortillas you’ll need (and they sell their tortillas online here too).

Restaurant information
Tortilla Club Tortilleria / トルティーヤクラブ トルティレリア
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Uehara 1-32-3
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays

Photos ©SoraNews24
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