With the spectre of Pujol (named the Best Restaurant in Mexico City, and the 17th Best Restaurant in the World) looming large over him, Enrique Olvera was under sizable pressure to outdo himself with his first stateside venture. And Cosme in the Flatiron District didn’t disappoint, blanketing Instagram with images of uni tostadas and corn husk meringue, and racking up accolades, including a James Beard Rising Star nod for sous chef, Daniela Soto-Innes, as well as a spot on the World’s Best list itself.
So for his second NYC entry, Atla, you can forgive Olvera for dropping his guard just a tad. With little else to prove, he’s taken a cue from other fine dining stalwarts by going (if not exactly quick) decidedly casual, opening an eatery that aims to be a destination for its NoHo neighbors, as opposed to globe-trotting, charge card-toting prestige seekers.
Less Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack than Jean-Georges’ abcV, Atla touts an all-day concept, along with a wholesome, veggie-friendly menu. Kicking off service at 8:30 am (breakfast bonanza!), offerings include transportable Mexican street snacks such as Split Pea Tlacoyos, Guacamole and Goat Cheese Molletes and Kale Tamales, smothered with roasted tomato salsa (there’s also a Tostada, but instead of sea urchin, it pays homage to the classic bagel and schmear, by supporting arctic char, capers and farmers cheese).
As for lunch and dinner, few items top the $20 mark, eschewing big ticket feeds like sharable Duck Carnitas for Steak Tartare Chile Rellenos, Farro Wheat and Quail Egg Meatballs, and dainty cutlets of Fish Milanese, capped with a refreshing cucumber ceviche. There’s even a late night lineup, geared towards those looking for a quick bite before bed, as opposed to those who couldn’t score a reservation before 10 pm. Expect easy, fuss-free eats like Spicy Almonds, Guacamole, and White Ayocote Hummus scooped with blue corn crisps — Olvera may not be angling for awards with Atla, but it seems he still managed to score a winner.
372 Lafayette St.