Denisse Lina Chavez makes, arguably, the very best tortillas in town.
She first bestowed them on Brooklyn at El Atoradero in Crown Heights, as vessels for sopping up complex, multi-day molés, or wrapping up slow-roasted strands of cochinita pibil. And she increased production just this past year for Madre Mezcaleria next door, in order to supply the agave bar with a complimentary selection of awesome antojitos.
So with such a perfect product at their disposal, it only made sense for she—and partner Noah Arenstein—to debut a taco stand as the next leg of their expansion plan. Located in the al fresco courtyard of Littlefield’s new Gowanus performance complex, Taqueria El Atoradero is an ideal counterpart to an in-house bar called Parklife, which offers Mexican food-friendly libations such “Summer Friends” (mezcal, jalapeno syrup, culantro recao), the “Beach Bois” (rum, cachaça and pineapple-lemongrass shrub), and frozen, salt-rimmed beer-garitas, topped with miniature Coronas.
And while a sure-to-be-signature dish actually subs in french fries for chips, in a take on her celebrated nachos, Chavez’s blue corn beauties still get plenty of play; used for scooping guacamole, pico or ceviche, twirled into slim flautas stuffed with sticks of fresh cheese, and of course, presented as the base for impeccable tacos, piled with carne asada or carnitas, grilled fish or shrimp, poblanos and potatoes or even bouquets of purslane.
Chavez and Arenstein are essentially seeking proof of concept, in hopes of blessing NYC with a bevy of identical taquerias. As long as they keep those tortillas coming, we’ll consider it our goal too.
Taqueria El Atoradero: 636 Degraw Street, Gowanus
Photos via El Atoradero Brooklyn on Instagram