Gran Electrica: Tacos for DUMBO!

The blogosphere buzz reached a crescendo last week as Gran Electrica, Dumbo’s brand new restaurant opened its doors on 5 Front Street.   What was formerly your average sports bar with a great outdoor patio and lousy service has been transformed into a sleek Mexican eatery to the delight of us Dumbo residents who bemoan the serious lack of dining options in our neighborhood. The Mr. and I along with Chef Monsta headed over to Gran Electrica at the onset of the weekend to see what all the hype was about.  Upon entering the renovated space, which features a contemporary mix of blond wood tables, exposed brick,  funky black and white wall paper and industrial accents, we were greeted by two young hostesses and a 20 minute wait.  We kicked off the weekend with some spicy grapefruit margaritas. Note to the bartender who made mine, you had a very heavy hand that night as I could barely get it down.  Not necessarily a bad quality of a tacqueria mixologist though!   We received our seating assignment at a high table with stools and the hostess graciously accommodated my request to be moved to a regular table in the main dining room (some of us don’t have a tailbone, lady). Big points for customer service.

The place mat menu trend lives on and we dove right in as our server came around to give us the scoop on the food and the bad news…no fish tacos!  Luckily for this pescatarian, there were plenty of intriguing vegetarian options. With most menu items between $5-$15, we went all out and sampled a little bit of everything. First up, the poblano taco which  featured crunchy pepper chunks in a light and tangy crema sauce.  Next,  the potato tacos which arrived deep fried, filled with creamy potatoes and topped with crunchy iceberg lettuce and cotija cheese. Each vegetarian dish was excellent and I was not in the least bit envious of  my dining partners as they raved about the beef cheek and sweet bread tacos. We tried a light  interpretation of  “Ensalada Cesar” which takes the fat but not the flavor out of the classic dish by using Worcester sauce and lime as a dressing as well as a wonderful spanish mackeral ceviche with green olives, my favorite.   The expert preparation of each plate blew us away yet  after acknowledging that the restaurant’s chefs are veterans of such renowned restaurants as Fat Duck, Noma (in Copenhagen) and our very own Colonie in Brooklyn Heights, we were no longer surprised, just ecstatic to finally be eating such quality food in Dumbo!  Beyond the culinary chops of its owners, what truly elevates Dumbo’s new tacqueria, are the house made mini tortillas which capture corn’s essence in a way that store-bought never can. Even better, each table is given four mini colorful bowls filled with different types of homemade salsas. We loved the tomatillo, spicy habanero, and regular salsa and requested a refill of each.  They were the perfect topping to the last platter of black beans and tortillas to hit our table.

The Beet Margarita. Photo by Katie Sokoler/Gothamist

I ordered a beet margarita to wash down the remnants of my meal and loved both the vivid color and flavor of this drink.

With incredible food, attentive service and an ambiance that is perfect for a casual taco night or a hip jump off point for the weekend, Gran Electrica hit every mark in its opening weekend.  You heard it hear first,  in the coming months (especially when the weather is warm enough for patio tacos & margaritas), this tacqueria will not only be a mainstay for the locals but a destination for the whole borough’s taco lovers and mexican food affectionados.  I think its safe to say adios to Pedros!

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