“I can’t believe you’re open again. I’m just so happy!” a woman wearing serious-looking glasses nearly squealed as she walked into La Slowteria, a beachy Mexican spot on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, last night. When you’ve lived in Brooklyn long enough, it’s inevitable that some of your favorite restaurants are going to close. But everybody loves a comeback story, and when a beloved spot rises from its own ashes, there’s a sparkle in the air.
The reopening of La Slowteria, which has always felt like a magical little taste of Tulum in the shadows of the BQE, called for the clinking of margarita glasses. Bright pink hibiscus margaritas, topped with yellow pansies and lime twists, fueled the joyful voices throughout the restaurant’s cozy space and dreamy backyard. At the table beside us, a bearded man gushed, “Every time he changes the menu, it’s amazing. Anything we order will be incredible.”
“He” is the amiable, Mexican-born chef, Hugo Orozco, who opened La Slowteria’s doors in 2012, but the homey restaurant closed without warning in November 2017, mainly due to staffing issues. The neighborhood has been missing Orozco’s impossibly fresh fish tacos, citrusy ceviche, and superlative brunch-time specialties of huevos rancheros and chilaquiles, not to mention his hearty, handmade tortillas, beautifully melding blue and yellow corn.
The reopened restaurant will continue to serve old favorites like El Diablito, a tasting of Orozco’s staggeringly delicious array of salsas, fresh guacamole, and his reliably smoky, salty, best-in-the-neighborhood beans. New items include an amazing vegetable dish called the Three Sisters, in which a charred corn and bean salad takes the shape of corn on the cob, with thin slices of grilled zucchini artfully standing in for the husk. The Sisters represent the three inseparable staples of Native American cuisine, squash, maize, and beans. The dish represents the entire ethos of La Slowteria with its playful take on simple, earthy, nourishing fare.
On the drink menu, La Slowteria will continue to offer a selection of fresh-juice margaritas and refreshing pints of ice-cold Pacifico on draft, but Orozco also mentioned some changes behind the bar, “We’ll have some more nice wine, and a little bit more mezcal so we can focus more on pairings with the food.”
While the restaurant was closed, Orozco spent the winter collaborating with Midtown Mexican spot Vida Verde, cooking some traditional farm-to-table fare in Connecticut, and welcoming his third child. Though Orozco remains La Slowteria’s chef, he’ll be able to split his time between the restaurant and other projects with the help of his new partner, Javier Zacatelco, who brings along his passion for wine. He shares Orozco’s warm and welcoming spirit and spent opening night chatting with guests and busily mixing drinks behind the bar. “Javier brings a new injection of energy,” Orozco says, “and we’re very happy to have him.”
Though there wasn’t seafood on the menu for opening night, the fish tacos will be returning shortly. Brunch service will begin on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, and will continue through the summer. There are more new dishes in store and if the opening is any indication, this restaurant is poised to make the sort of comeback that could outshine its first time around.
La Slowteria, 548 Court St., Carroll Gardens, (917) 909-1231