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Claro

Mexican Gowanus Brooklyn

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#16 Sneakeater

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:09 PM

Yeah I was wrong.
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#17 Lex

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:29 PM

Sietsema likes it a lot.


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#18 The Flon

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:35 PM

Booked a table for this coming Saturday.



#19 Daniel

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:15 AM

930 Rez for this sat. I am excited. Ready to eat somethings face
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#20 The Flon

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:08 PM

930 Rez for this sat. I am excited. Ready to eat somethings face

Maybe we'll cross paths. Will be odd to see you seated as a guest, for sure.

I wouldn't be surprised if you eat standing up at restaurant!

#21 The Flon

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 01:48 PM

930 Rez for this sat. I am excited. Ready to eat somethings face

 

Unless you arrived closer to 10:00-10:30 we must have missed you.

The goat was fantastic. 



#22 The Flon

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 01:52 PM

The turkey mole and a chorizo tostada were also highlights. Portions are generous.



#23 Daniel

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:09 PM

 

930 Rez for this sat. I am excited. Ready to eat somethings face

 

Unless you arrived closer to 10:00-10:30 we must have missed you.

The goat was fantastic. 

 

 

yeh, sick baby had me cancel the day before..


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#24 The Flon

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:10 PM

 

 

930 Rez for this sat. I am excited. Ready to eat somethings face

 

Unless you arrived closer to 10:00-10:30 we must have missed you.

The goat was fantastic. 

 

 

yeh, sick baby had me cancel the day before..

 

Hope the fella is on the mend.



#25 Daniel

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 02:22 PM

my daughter liked the goat! I enjoyed the rest of the food too, although I liked the goat more than anything else we had by a wide margin.

 

 

Yes by a very wide margin.. The barbacoa is worth going there for... 


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#26 GerryOlds

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 03:59 PM

Do tell.



#27 Daniel

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 04:30 PM

We had a good portion of the menu.. I was excited as it was my first time back from eating meat since Labor Day.. . The only thing that was worth breaking veganism was the Goat.. 

 

The skirt steak would have been good had it been cooked recently.. They had a beautiful grill which i think they were using to grill bread on.. The skirt steak must have been cooked on the grill earlier and then sort of placed inside the tllayuda shell.. I don't know, nothing was remarkable. 

 

It still feels like they are getting their legs.. Place was relatively empty.. the backyard only had a few tables set up and the rest of the backyard has room for many more tables to be added, I guess once demand is there.. 

 

I really think they are passionate and trying for something.. I don't know if it's because of lack of customers or what it is, it seems very much in the infancy. 

 

We had a shrimp aguachile which nobody at the table even finished.. and we were three hungry guys, it was just ok.. Then we had a lobster tostada that was again, just ok..  Skirt steak something or other where the meat was really disappointing and then on to the goat which was fantastic.. they served two meaty ribs that were cooked perfectly.. served with a consume that also was delicious.  We ordered a few more items, nothing memorable enough to even recall.. 

 

That is all.. If not for the goat we would have left very disappointed, all things were forgiven after the goat.. 


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#28 AaronS

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 07:19 PM

we didn't get ribs, we got neck, shank, and another cut I don't remember.

we had a mushroom quesadilla with goat cheese that was ok, that shrimp dish, the turkey mole, and a pizza like thing that was pretty bland. a side order of beans was really nice.

the second best thing was probably the michelada that was made with ancho chile and hibiscus.

#29 Daniel

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 07:26 PM

yeh, the drinks were good.. 


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#30 Sneakeater

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 08:47 PM

My second visit to Claro raised some meta-issues about NYC restaurants.  So bear with me for some stuff that is not really keyed to this restaurant in particular.
 
This thread makes clear that the barbacoa towers over the rest of the menu here.  Moreover, it was the dish that was pushed most heavily in Claro's opening PR.  That and the moles (this restaurant being premised on the chef's having been a part-time resident of Oaxaca).
 
When MFFers went to this restaurant following my initial opening-night rave about the barbacoa, that dish was sometimes unavailable, reportedly a "temporary" problem owing to sourcing and supply issues.
 
I went Saturday night -- a night you'd think would be prime time.   There were neither the barbacoa nor any moles on the menu.  The barbacoa, I was told, is only sporadically available, because, I was told, the kitchen breaks down a goat and then serves it till used up; then buys another goat, breaks it down, etc., leaving gaps in availability.  As for the moles, I was told, one was removed from the menu owing to difficulties with its preparation; the other is only sporadically available for reasons similar to the barbacoa.
 
So we had some of the lesser dishes.  I thought the pork memela was quite good; the aguachile less so (I know:  I should have listened to you guys).  My date's tuna ceviche looked very good; frankly, her steak tlayuda did, too -- I suspect her dislike of it sprang more from a general distaste for that type of Mexican dish on her part than from any great flaw in the cooking.   But this was all lesser stuff than the mighty barbacoa (and I wanted to try a mole). Not really worth a mile's walk (for me) or a schlep from Manhattan (for her).
 
Now I'm all on board with small restaurants using fresh ingredients and cooking only what's available, blah blah blah.  But if your PR is going to push certain dishes, you really ought to be able to figure out a way to have them regularly.  Restaurants are businesses, after all (as funky and folksy as Brooklyn Restaurant Ideology tries to make them seem).
 
You might say this is the same problem as Mile End had with its smoked meat before its establishment of a big off-site smokehouse finally enabled it to keep up with demand.  But Mile End had some transparency:  they made it clear in their public statements that they were going to run out of smoked meat before nominal closing time each day (similar to Franklin's in Austin), so if you got there after the meat ran out, you might have been disappointed, but not taken by surprise.  Here, a restaurant is simply failing on certain days to supply the dishes that were most heavily touted in its publicity when it opened, with no warning to the public of their possible unavailability.  (To be clear, it's not that these dishes ran out before we got to Claro on Saturday:  they weren't even on Saturday's daily menu; it looked, until we asked, like they had simply been dropped from the restaurant's repertoire.)
 
This also seems to me to be different from L'Antagoniste's limited-availability Sunday and Monday specials.  Those items aren't even included on the menu; rather, they are announced in a separate special part of the restaurant's website.  And, again, there's transparency:   that separate website announcement specifically directs you to order the dishes in advance and confirm their availability before you go to the restaurant in order to assure that you'll be able to get them.
 
And to make the most obvious point, this isn't the same as a restaurant's changing its menu daily (much less seasonally) to reflect market availability of ingredients.  The problem here -- if my waiter was telling me the truth -- doesn't lie with the availability of ingredients, but rather the restaurant's inability to plan the preparation of certain highly-touted dishes in a way that insures their continuous availability to diners.
 
What's ironic about this is that if Claro owned up publicly to the limited availability of these dishes, it could turn that to its advantage.  Look at Emily and its burger.  (OTOH, I guess if Claro advised customers to call ahead to make sure the barbacoa was available on a given day, they'd risk losing business on the days it isn't.  So they'd have to stop answering their phone.)
 
Now one other unrelated problem, which isn't really a problem with this restaurant but rather with The Way We Eat Now.  You all know about my aversion to sharing.  But Saturday night, my preferences weren't even an issue.  We simply couldn't share:  my date has medically mandated dietary restrictions; some of her dishes had to be specially adjusted, while she couldn't eat most of what I had ordered.  The restaurant knew this.  But they were unable to bring coursed dishes out together:  one dish from a course would appear, and the other would appear only much later (which would make sense if we were sharing the dishes, but which was very awkward when we weren't, since either we'd each be eating at different times or one of us would have a plate of cold food) (OK, some of the dishes were cold to begin with -- but one of us still had to sit there with a plate of food in front of them that they couldn't eat for a long time without being rude).
 
Now, I get it:  small kitchen, hard to prepare dishes so they're ready at the same time blah blah blah.  And we must have been the only table in the place that wasn't sharing.  But it just bugs me that it is impossible, in some restaurants, to eat in the only manner I feel is non-barbaric.  Sure, that's just my idiosyncratic, out-of-fashion preference.  But in this case, it wasn't just a matter of my preference; my date's medical condition rendered us unable to share.  And it pisses me off that the restaurant not only was unable to accommodate that, but appeared unable to even perceive it as a way people might want to eat their dinner.  Because, I guess, for the most part it isn't anymore.
 
Nevertheless, I like Claro.  I had planned to go back this coming Sunday.   After checking with the kitchen, my waiter told me they were going to have the barbacoa and the moles then.  I wonder if they really can know that, more than a week in advance.   If they can, I guess the game-plan is to confirm availability before you go.


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