Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 11/18/2015
Photo: Julienne Schaer
17 Ingraham St., 347-599-2976, Bushwick, Brooklyn
A tiki totem pole stands sentry outside El Cortez, Brooklyn's coolest new lounge dishing out straightforward Mexican-American food. From Stephen Tanner, a cofounder of Williamsburg's Pies 'n' Thighs and the Commodore, this Bushwick outpost evokes an old-school joint in downtown Las Vegas. There's Naugahyde upholstery, dark lighting, fare like 21 Jump Street (the Johnny Depp version) on the TV and a tiki drink menu pictured on paper place mats. And how often do you see souvenir matchbooks? Accomplished barkeeps shake up drinks like the signature El Cortez, a tart blend of tequila, spicy ancho liqueur, grapefruit, lime, mint and a touch of sugar. Taco salad, nachos, chimichangas, burritos and tacos are better here than they ever were in the 20th century. Chicken enchiladas are outstanding, a big portion for $11 and so much more than advertised, spicy and showered with shredded lettuce, radishes, cheese, avocado, sour cream, cilantro and green or red sauce. Upstairs is another bar and dance floor.