Alcatraz: NYC: Bed Stuy

I can't remember how I heard about Alcatraz opening up.  I suppose it was probably from a food blog newsletter.  At first I had thought it was going to be a down-to-earth taco joint sort of enterprise, but I was wrong.

It seems pretty ambitious for a classically trained chef to open a French/Mex fusion / Fine Mexican Cuisine (they call it both on their menu) in Bed Stuy, but Franklin avenue is the spot for it if anywhere in Bed Stuy is.

It really is a bit expensive though, and it's sort of deceptively so.  "Tacos" are 4 bucks each, and each order is one taco.  They're good tacos, but when you're paying $4 for one taco in Bed Stuy, you start to get this whole "What the hell is your game plan"/"Am I missing something here?" line of questioning in your head for the guys running the place.  Maybe it's all gonna work out for them, charging these prices in these nicer places on Franklin Ave. (Nice, Bistro Lafayette).  Je ne suis pas sur.

I went with my friend Andrew, and we started by ordering a watermelon ginger limeade:

It was delicious, refreshing, fun (and rather pretty), with an interesting vinegar smell that was actually pretty pleasant.  I recommend trying this for sure, especially if you have someone to share it with and/or it's a hot day.

We shared a $5 tamale:

Chicken ranchera and mole poblano tamale in banana leaf

You know, this was good and all, and I like the radishes and cream sauce and the banana leaf thing, but it still wasn't good enough to convert me to tamales, and I definitely wouldn't spend five bucks to get another one.  Back where I lived in Richmond/Rosenberg, I could get a dozen homemade tamales for five bucks from any number of Mexican women selling them around town, and they were good but not something I ever cared much about. Sometimes I get convinced that there's hope for my tamale feelings, but Alcatraz's didn't do the trick.  Perhaps no one can...

We also ordered two $4 tacos to share:

Negro Modelo battered fried mahi mahi, pico de gallo, guacamole, cabbage and chipotle aioli in a flour tortilla

Grilled tri-tip steak, cascabel sauce, guacamole, pico de gallo and cotija cheese

The tri-tip taco was great, totally tasty and all, but nothing particularly special in my book.  Perhaps I'd call it  a three dollar taco.

The fish taco was pretty swell though.  It was fresh, and the cabbage slaw was happenin'.  I suppose it must have been worth four dollars since we decided we needed to order another one.  Yumsies.

I also needed to order this dessert item:

Popped corn in ancho caramel with pumpkin seeds

I highly recommend getting this.  It was delicious, with all the flavors balanced very nicely, just a hint of spiciness instead of going overboard as people have been wont to do with their sweet/spicy dishes lately.   Well done.

It's an interesting little spot.  There's not much room in there, just a few tables and a bench, but they said they were going to take out the bench and put it one longer table.  They've been open since December (about the same time as Dough started serving donuts!), and we'll see how their adventure in the neighborhood pans out.  Oh and keep in mind, this place is cash only.

Alcatraz on Urbanspoon

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