All-Day Mexican Fare at Atla

the light, airy and spacious dining room at atla

Enrique Olvera’s Cosme is one of the best restaurants in the city, and the duck carnitas and husk meringue are two signature dishes that I’ve raved about to others. But the¬†high price points and fine dining atmosphere at Cosme don’t allow for frequent visits. Things are about to change now that Olvera has introduced a more accessible, casual Mexican concept called Atla in Noho. I can now enjoy Michelin-caliber cooking at reasonable prices at any time of day, and as a result, Atla is fast becoming my favorite everyday, neighborhood standby.

michelada at brunch – so crisp and effervescent
concha pastry
the ranchero eggs
chilaquiles with half green and half red sauce, served with a poached egg on top

The last time I checked, Atla offers its breakfast menu until 1 pm, and then it switches over to its lunch / dinner menu. There isn’t that much overlap between the two, and there are great things about both, so you just need to find an excuse to come here at least twice. And it won’t be that hard to find one, because the food is excellent. For breakfast, an ideal meal would consist of the ranchero eggs, a wonderful bowl of eggs resting in a warm, earthy stew that just fills you up with content inside, or the chilaquiles, a platter of crunchy and crisp corn chips that never wilt under the spicy pressure of the green or red sauce. Round that out with a sweet, lemony concha pastry and the bubbliest michelada that you’ve ever come across, and your brunch will be perfect.

guacamole and the world’s largest single chip
white ayocote hummus, also hiding underneath a large chip

Everyone’s been talking about Atla’s guacamole, with some calling it the best guac in town. It’s certainly a different style compared to the smooth, mashed puree that we’ve come to expect. The avocado slices are left largely intact, as are the basil and onion, which results in two bites of the guacamole never being quite the same. One might be a little more spicy, another might have some more texture. One thing’s for sure is that this guac will always keep you guessing. If you like your dips a little more traditional, then the white ayocote hummus might be more up your alley. Of all the hummus dips you’ve ever tried in your life, this might quite possibly be the best.

arctic char tostada
chicken enchilada with green sauce

If you’ve arrived too late and missed your chance for some ranchero eggs, then not to fear, you’ll be more than happy with a meal of the arctic char tostada and the chicken enchiladas in green sauce. The tostada’s a bit on the small side, but the rich and fresh flavors of the char, along with the creamy dollops of cheese, will more than fill you up. And the chicken enchiladas come in an amazing sauce that you can eat on its own for days. Luckily they give you some tortillas so that you can make that happen, until the sad moment when all of it is gone. But then you have an excuse to come again next week to pick up from where you left off. Which is no skin off your back since the no-reservation policy and the fair price points make a meal here open to everyone.

371 Lafayette St (and Great Jones St)
New York, NY 10012