In New York, new restaurants open every day of every week. It's hard to keep up, but when I see one opening in my neighborhood, I want to try it. Because who knows, it might become my new local favorite. I patiently waited for Atla to open as I walked past it nearly every day for the last month. Last week, I finally tried this new Mexican place when I met a friend for brunch.
The good thing about new restaurants it that only locals know about it, so it's rather easy to get a table. As I entered I was greeted by two friendly girls who pointed me towards a seat at the bar as I was still waiting for my friend to arrive.
While I took a seat next to a huge basket filled with citrus fruit, I perused the menu. It's short but sweet; there's a variety of coffees, fresh drinks, cocktails, tequilas and mezcal, and in the back, you'll find the food menu.
This might be one of the shortest menus I've seen in New York, which I like. But I wish the dishes were described a little better because I didn't know what half of the dishes were. A little mystery is good, but this just felt a little inconvenient.
The dinner menu is a bit different and looks really great! There are plenty of vegetarian dishes which is a big plus.
We started off with a cashew milk coffee and a horchata. Both delicious, especially the horchata: creamy, not too sweet and very fresh.
My friend ordered the flax seed chilaquiles with a poached egg (you can also choose chicken). Although she had something healthier in mind (yes they are pretty much like nachos), it was really delicious. Very flavorful but messy to eat (you must use your hands).
I was only a little bit hungry so I ordered the quesadilla with extra mushrooms. Although $7 is quite inexpensive for a dish at a restaurant in NY, I was a little disappointed with the presentation. This is something I could easily make at home (and could probably make it look better), which is not really something I want when I go to a restaurant. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious and the flavors were very authentic, but I feel like it lacked some presentation (some greens on the side maybe?)
The little spicy green sauce on the side pretty much made this dish. Really good!
Overall, I like Atla. It feels very unforced, the restaurant is very airy (huge windows) and the staff is very friendly even though it's very noticeable that the restaurant is new so everyone still needs to find their way. For next time I'd probably take a bigger variety of dishes so you get different flavors. The dishes are quite small so I guess it's better to pick a couple and share! Chef Enrique Olvera wants Atla to be a place where you can go after work, have a couple drinks and snacks, which I think is perfect. I can't wait for them to open their outdoor patio so I can go back and sample some more dishes!
>> 372 Lafayette St