I recently had an 18 hour layover in NYC and with the amazing help of my foodie friend Rhianna (a.k.a. One Hollow leg) came up an exciting itinerary filled with food spots and delicious treats around the city.
Between bagels, coffee, ice cream and hipster markets I got the chance to try the newest Enrique Olvera’s addition to NYC food scene, Atla: a restaurant with modern Mexican food, coffee and cocktails located in NoHo.
And indeed modern Mexican food they are. I would describe their menu as Mexican with a twist, committed to maintaining lots of Mexican ingredients and flavors but presenting them in a simple, tasty, unexpected way.
As Olvera has said in interviews, Cosme became too big and a too much of a destination spot, they even earned a spot in this year’s Top 50 Best restaurants in the world (#40) and they wanted to get away from
that, by opening a more casual joint; a place where neighbors could pop in without having to sell an arm and a leg to pay the bill nor having to wait for months to get a reservation.
Inside the minimalist looking restaurant, service was friendly and accommodating and as it turned out, my waiter was not only from Mexico, but also a Chilango like myself, who help me choosing a couple of dishes and cocktails and made the whole experience smooth and uncomplicated. The one big problem I found was I got there right between lunch and dinner times, meaning I had to wait outside staring at the window until they were ready to open again. At the moment was a little bit of a bummer but I blame myself for not checking the opening hours before hand.
The menu is very simple and small and you get a tiny pencil to check your selection, (a method I’m very familiar with, since lots of taquerías in México rely on it), and it includes dishes such as kale tamal, flax seed chilaquiles, nopal tostada, goat cheese molletes and classics such as chicharrón en salsa verde. They also offer a huge variety of mezcales mainly from Oaxaca with fairly reasonable prices.
I ended up getting one of their many mezcal based cocktails and two items from the dinner menu: a refried beans filled Pambazo and the ayocote hummus which came served with a huge blue corn tortilla chip.
There was only so much I could try since my whole day involved way more food than I could handle, but that clearly just gives me yet another excuse to go back to NY. Meanwhile I came back pleasantly surprised (again) by Enrique Olvera’s skill to prove once again that you don’t need a Tequila with sombrero and donkey shaped piñatas to represent Mexican culture.