clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Prieto Is Lyn/Lake’s New Taco Obsession From a Chef Embracing the Beauty of Doing Less

Alejandro Castillon’s Prieto opens this week with tacos, empanadas, margaritas, and blessedly few superfluous garnishes

A spread of tacos, chips, salsa, and ceviche on a black table Lucy Hawthorne/Eater Twin Cities

Alejandro Castillon’s Prieto will open on the intersection of Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street this week. The chef is sticking to what he knows how to do well: craveable tacos and fun drinks, but what might be of note here is what’s been edited out. On the plates are zero sprigs of cilantro, chopped onion, or piles of microgreens.

Taking the place of the short-lived Hasty Tasty, Prieto is making great use of the massive smoker inside to make all manner of taco fillings, from slow roasted pork shoulder to adding a whisper of smoke to the fish mixed with little scallops for ceviche. Underneath the main fillings are a myriad of sauces, sometimes salsas, sometimes mayo based, “which is more traditional in Mexico,” said the chef.

Castillon was the co-founding chef of Sonora Grill, a stand that first opened inside Midtown Global Market before moving down East Lake Street to a whole restaurant. Castillon sold his share of the business to his co-founder in November of last year.

Enter Prieto from Lake Street

Opening the restaurant became a family affair, with friends in the industry pitching in and Castillon’s sister flying in from her home in Canada to help her brother. Their mother brought back items from Mexico to include in the decor.

Chef/owner Alejandro Castillon took his mother’s maiden name for his new restaurant

The menu is edited down to a few, focused dishes that include tacos, snacks, and larger plates. The chef spent time developing and honing simple sauces like pico de gallo, salsa verde, and queso for refined simplicity. Although he used his modern toolkit - he was opening chef and Barrio and worked at Bar La Grassa, Castillon’s dishes are focused and built to be paired with long summer nights and a beverage.

Decor accents straight from Mexico are woven into the understated space

Behind the bar are basics along with a few specialty cocktails. There’s a reposado tequila Old Fashioned, as well as two spinning blended margarita machines. Sophisticated non-alcoholic beverage options include refreshing cucumber water and horchata.

Vibrant prints line the front dining room

In addition to the indoor seating, there are also a few patio seats outside on Lyndale Avenue.

The light filled front room has access to the patio, windows open onto Lyndale

Castillon was cagey about exactly which day this week the restaurant would open, but assured us that it would be soon. Those walking by should keep an eye out for open doors.

Toys brought back from Mexico fit into this front room art installation

Prieto will serve lunch through dinner and look for a brunch service to be added very soon.

The back room is livelier and available for special events
The slim menu at Prieto is limited to tacos, larger plates, and a few snacks
Behind the bar are two blended margarita machines and a stocked bar set for cocktails
Ceviche mixes scallops with lightly smoked fish on a tostada on top of salsa verde
The empanada trend of 2019 continues with these thin-crusted, smoky brisket filled specimens
On a dark table is a Prieto menu and a stoneware plate with two dark tortillas topped with cabbage slaw and crispy fish filets
Crusty fried shrimp on cabbage slaw, topped with pico de gallo


701 West Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408