The team behind Colonie in Brooklyn Heights have been wanting to open a Mexican restaurant for a while. "Mexican food is what we find ourselves eating on our days off," said co-owner Elise Rosenberg. Their new spot Gran Electrica has been open about a month now on Front Street in Dumbo, right next to Grimaldi's pizzeria. Instead of slinging pizza dough, they're pressing 400 to 500 corn tortillas a night.
"Tortillas are like bread service here," said the owners, who have them going out in pairs for tacos—filled with lengua, suadero, pescado, carnitas, and rajas—and also served alongside the bigger plates, like pozole rojo (nixtamal and pork stew with cabbage and radish). And no part of the pig is wasted. They're pulling apart the precious pieces of pig's ear to top that pozole—"it's the best part!"—and making chorizo in-house.
Bradford McDonald, the restaurant group's executive chef, and Sam Richman, formerly of The Fat Duck and Jean Georges, traveled all over Oaxaca and Mexico City to study (which really means, eat a lot of) regional flavors and traditional street fare to develop Gran Electrica's menu. "You won't see the tlacoyos at many other Mexican restaurants in the city."
Beverage director Sophie Taverner and bartender Justin Fairweather have created a drinks menu to match, complete with beer (both Mexican and the local Brooklyn standbys), margaritas, micheladas, sangrita served with a shot of tequila or mezcal from a spirits list highlighting small-batch distillers and the bigger brands, as well as Horchata, Jamaica, and Pepino y Hierbabuena.
Come sunnier weather, they'll be opening up the back patio for service too, which has a prime view of the Brooklyn Bridge directly above. Gran Electrica is just as much Brooklyn as it is Mexican, and that nexus is best embodied in the wallpaper. Designed at nearby Flavor Paper, it depicts Dia de Los Muertos scenes of skeletons, except they're bearded and bespectacled, bike-riding and stroller-pushing as they do in Dumbo. The longer you stare, the more quirky details you'll notice (like their cycling caps and a skeletal Statue of Liberty!).