In the funny edge of Bushwick with the block long canvases, industrial Montmartre, is where they keep El Cortez, an evocative spare facade on Ingraham. Initially, I get there way too early. El Cortez opens at 4. No one in this section has their natural hair color except me and Jose who is learning to tend bar at El Cortez from Justin who I overhear has risen to his position as manager from bartender.
But the tacos. Wonderful. Let me get the unpleasant out of the way. The grease. They are probably ideal for keeping alive a Berlin to Bushwick transplant with impeccable clothes save for her old paint spattered boots with sole detaching from last. But for the average taco-going city dweller, a bit much. The spice is difficult to discuss. It is the spice of a taco with something to prove. And it doesn’t have to prove anything. The meat, in this case pork, is well seasoned, juicy, and falls apart between the teeth. On top, they put the freshest radishes and cilantro that snap in each bite. But, special mention is deserved for the blue corn tortillas. Something often not considered in the preparation of the taco is tortilla integrity. Halfway through a high percentage of tacos, the contents tear through and fall into the plate. El Cortez’s blue corn tortillas, though drenched in overmuch grease, hold up from first bite to last. They keep a lime there, too. How sweet, how kind. Couldn’t hope to complain.
To cut through the grease, it is recommended to order either a Shiner or one of the baroque tiki drinks advertised in the lush placemats.
The decor enhances the place. The best palm tree wallpaper I have ever seen and a big mural that is said to irk some ethnic Mexicans but not this one. Though I insist that the ruin portrayed is Chichen Itza. Justin is sure it is Teotihuacan.
El Cortez is located at 17 Ingraham St., Brooklyn NY 11206