Toasted Sesame Horchata
Red Flax Seed Chilaquiles with Poached Eggs
Having renewed an interest in Mexican Food and culture in 2017 it was just as ATLA was about to open that Enrique Olvera’s Mexico City flagship was first experienced, a visit to Pujol in March outperforming what many other culinary tourists had labeled a falling-off at the new location and spurring additional visits to Eno as well as Cosme that were enjoyable enough to justify taking a look at his and Daniela Soto-Innes’ all-day Nolita hotspot with a friend on Thursday morning.
Currently toqued by Hugo Vera and open for just under ten months, the menu having undergone slow changes and incremental increases in price during both breakfast and lunch/dinner, guests approaching the glass and concrete space on the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones Street will likely first be taken by the simplicity of design and slight silhouette of tables, the menu equally compact and short on descriptions.
Taking a far more modest approach than Cosme to Mexican Cuisine, the bulk of fourteen plates available before 1pm fairly traditional with occasional elements of intrigue beyond their substantial price tags, it was beginning with a $7 glass of cold Horchatta made more savory by ground Sesame Seeds that the morning got underway, a Latin American soundtrack mingling with tech-talk from four men to the left and politics as viewed by two yoga-mat toting mothers whose table sat less than a foot away.
Pleasant yet efficient in terms of service, the half-full space in general seeing breakfasts delivered within fifteen minutes of ordering, it was after a bit of catching up that three plates and one Concha arrived, the former requiring an extra $3 to add a few warm Tortillas while the $7 Pastry (that was only $5 and bathed in Dulce de Leche when ATLA first opened) was laughably smaller than the 79-cent versions sold at most Mexican grocery stores and only slightly better in terms of freshness and texture.
Quickly perusing the rest of the options to figure out where $46 had been spent, a pile of medium thickness Tortilla Chips soaking in Red Sauce and buried under lots of raw Onions plus a $3 fried Egg dubbed Chilaquiles, it was only the addition of Sesame Seeds that elevated this dish beyond what one might get for half at a Restaurant without *Celebrity Chef* status while the “Ranchero Eggs” featured two poached orbs in a pool of thick Tomato Sauce with the heat of Chile Peppers and perhaps a tablespoon of Cotija Cheese.
Admittedly getting the flavors right despite nickel-and-diming for Tortillas that were absolutely necessary, yet inexplicably absent, from the Eggs it was finally with ATLA’s $15 Enfrijolada that a $96 breakfast came to its conclusion, the pureed Black Bean Enchiladas themselves nothing special but the deeply colored Sauce reminiscent of Olvera’s legendary Mole with a bit less complexity but more body.