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Saturday
Jan042014

New Taqueria from Palo Santo Owner Coming to Union Street

A new taqueria from Palo Santo owner Jacques Gautier is slated to open by the end of the month in the space on Union Street just east of Fourth Avenue that was most recently home to Fort Reno. All tortillas will be made to order, and a rotating roster of about a dozen tacos will be available at all times, along with a wide selection of tequila and mezcal.

The still-unnamed taqueria was inspired by the success of the tacos served at Palo Santo, and will draw inspiration from the tacos in Central Mexico, Southern California, and Texas. Rotating $3 tacos will include pork, chorizo, chicken, duck mole, mushroom, cactus, Baja-style fish tacos, fried avocado, grilled fish, and pork surtido, made with offal and other uncomon cuts (they'll be breaking down whole pigs and going with a snout-to-tail approach), and the most expensive offering will be a $5 lobster taco. Rice and beans and other masa-based specialties like quesadillas, sopes, and huaraches will also be on offer. They'll also be delivering.

"We want this to be a tortilleria as much as a taqueria," Gautier told me. "Lots of taquerias in Southern California make their tortillas to order, and we're designing the kitchen around making tortillas."

Gautier will serve as executive chef; the chef de cuisine will be Puebla native Alejandro Bonilla, who's been the sous chef at Palo Santo for a few years and has also spent time at Applewood and Yardbird in Miami. Heading up the bar will be Corey Lange, who's been bartending locally for years and was last at High Dive on Fifth. He's building a cocktail list that revolves around mezcal.

Two year-old Fort Reno closed for the holidays and won't be re-opening, and its replacement will be open by early February at the latest. They're on the hunt for a name; if you have any suggestions you can let them know by emailing palosantopr@gmail.com.

Photo via brooklynexposed.com

Reader Comments (22)

Too bad about Fort Reno, as I thought they had the best barbecue in the neighborhood. Lots of deep-pocketed competition, though.

Looking forward to Jacques' take on the taco, however.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPorky

Devestated. Would have made a final pilgrimage had I known it would be no more. Last meal there was my birthday. No words. Wishing all well.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

The tortillas at Palo Santo are incredible and I can't wait to try the taqueria when it opens, but losing Fort Reno is devastating. It was hands-down the best barbecue in the neighborhood.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Shame as well about Fort Reno. Not the best, by any stretch, but not bad either. Too much competition from both places with higher capacity, like Dinosaur, or just plain better food in Morgan's and Fletcher's.

I consider Palo Santo to be one of the most overrated restaurants in the neighborhood, so I'll play wait and see here. Never had a passable meal there after numerous tries. Never had decent service either.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTu Mejor Bahnmigo

I'm sad too as it was a great stop on my way home option. But those people saying that it was the best BBQ in the neighborhood have not tried Morgans.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim

The BBQ at fort Reno was barely passable. Morgans is tons better and honestly so is Dinosaur (although Morgans is leaps and bounds better than Dino). Fletcher's is certainly better than Fort Reno also.

really don't need a taqueria here since the tacos Moreles truck from Jackson Heights parks every day on Union and 5th a block away. But agreed that those who thought fort Reno was good have never ever had good bbq before.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

Tell us more about how amazing your BBQ palate is, Sterling. Really, I need to know.

The snobbery sometimes...unbelievable. Was Fort Reno Aaron Franklin level good? Certainly not. Was it totally edible and reliable local food? Yes, entirely.

The place was most certainly outclassed by the influx of top notch competitors but they were first to the punch and deserve some credit for that.

Also, I get that a freshly made tortilla is wholly better than a store bought alternative but can one really be considered incredible? It's just a vehicle for ingredients.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFelton

....and totally edible and reliable local food wasn't going to survive with a bigger place serving totally edible and reliable not-local-but-still-worth-supporting food a block away.

Snobbery? You live in Park Slope, one of the more affluent neighborhoods in NYC.

The place was OK. It was small, cramped, and completely outclassed by neighbors to the north and south. There was absolutely zero reason to step foot in there with Morgan's, Fletcher's, and Dinosaur nearby. Good bourbon selection, though.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTed Nelson

I live here, yet I'm not a snob! Can you imagine?!!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFelton

Are you joking? Fort Reno was borderline embarrassingly bad and the other poster is correct - Morgan's & Dinosaur are much, much better. It's not really worth arguing about as they are still in business as of today

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterfLUKE

No, Felton.......you're probably just in denial of it. I'll meet you at Dallas BBQ on Livingston St. and you can see for yourself. :)

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTed Nelson

Appreciating good food and drink after working hard to be able to afford it over many years does not a snob make, Ted. You can still have a heart.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFelton

Robert Sietsema included Fort Reno's pork ribs as one of the WORST dishes he ate in 2013. Clearly I am not alone in thinking the place wasn't great (even though I had high hopes for it when it opened).

http://ny.eater.com/archives/2013/12/sietsemas_10_worst_dishes_of_2013.php#more

Morgan's is simply the best BBQ in NYC right now. No comparison.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

Nice to know that the same lunacy over comparing barbecue joints thats become a pastime in other parts of the country is now ours to relish.

No such thing as oversaturation of barbecue as far as Im concerned as long as Memphis/Carolinas style stays away.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Clearly there IS such a thing as oversaturation given that one place just folded. Glad that it's the weakest link that's folding not one of the good ones (Morgans and Fletchers).

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Tim, it's not really folding. The new place will have the same owner as Fort Reno (and Palo Santo).

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Lockhorn

The BBQ restaurant is folding. Fort Reno has folded. They have folded for 1 of 2 reasons:

1. It wasn't good.
2. There are now too many BBQ places close by, i.e. the BBQ market is saturated near here.

My guess is 1 and 2.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

Cheers for Corey. He's a really personable guy and a great bartender who has poured me many a fine drink over the last few years.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

I believe that Fort Reno's brisket was much better than Dino's. They also had a great bacon egg and cheese biscuit sandwich for brunch, although the brunch coffee was horrendous. Although they don't have the capacity, I thought they were doing better business getting spillover from Dino due to lengthy waits. Overall, I feel it's a shame because it felt like a nice, cozy, local BBQ place. Disagree with many people about overall quality. I found Fletchers disappointing. Morgans was solid but have only tried once.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEric

The worst part about Fort Reno (besides the mediocre food) was the space itself. It's so damn cramped in there. You walk in and it feels like a closet. When eating BBQ, I want to sit down and spread out not sit at a table with 2 inches between me and the next table. Hated it in there. Even if the food was great, I would never go because the space is terrible.
Perhaps for tacos I would try it again and get them as take out on eat outside on a nice day but as for eating inside that place again it's not going to happen.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEd

The space argument is BS-Fette Sau has been thriving for years with a ridiculously cramped space

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Okay Jbob you win. They had a beautiful space, amazing food and had the lock on BBQ in the neighborhood.

They closed because of the polar vortex.

BTW, Fette Sau is twice the size of Fort Reno with a huge outdoor area, not 2 picnic tables.

Also Fette Sau ain't that great. Used to be.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

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