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Have you been to Nixtamal lately?

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I thought I'd start this because it doesn't get mentioned much lately and the last few things I read here were about how it wasn't as good.
Well, I went a couple of weeks ago and it was great!

They've really expanded the menu in addition to a change in decor. There are a lot more taco options now.

They had tiny crab tostadas as a special that were sweet, spicy, and refreshing. Really tasty!
The fish tacos are now made with skate, which I love. The fish was crisp, moist, and flavorful. The carnitas were fatty and crisp, and the skirt steak taco had nicely charred tender steak.
The only thing that wasn't quite as great, but still very tasty, was a chicken tostada, which needed a bit more salt and I thought could use a little less cheese.

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  1. Aaaaah, I love Nixtamal!! Making me hungry :)

    1. Pretty sure the fish tacos were always made with skate. But yes, the restaurant is as good as ever and the finished decor is a nice touch.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Greg

        I seem to remember snapper or some other type of fish, but definitely not skate.

        1. re: Greg

          When I first visited, in 2009, those tacos were made with skate. I don't know if they've ever substituted a different fish since.

          Dave Cook

        2. Updating this thread: we recently went to Nixtamal for dinner. The food was excellent. Very good guacamole and excellent chips (which makes sense....). Excellent red and green salsas on the table. Tamales are outstanding. And large. Very good tacos, enchiladas mole. Sopas too are well done. Service was very friendly, on the ball. Its a great spot.

          1 Reply
          1. re: comiendosiempre

            Love Nixtamal, it's really a gem, but my one quibble is that service is really sloooooow

          2. We got to Nixtamal at about 6 p.m. on a weekend, maybe a few minutes before. There were a few open tables when we arrived, a small line for tables when we left. When we arrived I am pretty sure that everyone there was Hispanic.

            It may be because we arrived early but service was quick, on the ball. It was under five minutes before the guacamole and tamales hit the table. And the enchiladas, tacos came maybe five minutes later. At that time they still had some tortillas made earlier in the day for sale, often they sell out. I asked and they told me that the tortilla machine stops churning out tortillas at around 8 or 9 in the morning. On our next visit we will pick up a container of their mole sauce to go. In that regard, the chipotle and mole tamales were both delicious. The chipotle as good as the mole.

            2 Replies
            1. re: comiendosiempre

              I usually only go to Nixtamal at off hours (late lunch or early dinner) and have never had a problem with the service. I only go 2 or 3 times a year but have not yet found a dish I wouldn't order again.
              But a word of warning -- during the US Open they seem to be busier than usual so a wait for a table and slower service might be expected.

              1. re: el jefe

                I usually go to Nixtamal at off hours no wait good service and fine food, but I was there for the South Africa world cup broadcast on a sunny hot day. A peak crowd blast, three + hours of cheering, drinking, and eating. Service was suitably slow that day.

            2. Has anyone else noticed the guacamole portion getting smaller and smaller over the years, and the chips surrounding it, more and more numerous. There's enough guacamole for one little thimble dab on each chip.

              1. I went to Nixtamal about 7 weeks ago with two friends. I had heard and read that it was supposed to be really wonderful but I have to say that we were totally underwhelmed. We started with the the guacamole, and I will sat that the tortillas were great the guac, however, not distinctive or authoitatively seasoned (I ordered for the group in Spanish, btw) However the rest of the food was totally ordinary. One of us had fish (skate), rubbery and chewy, one carnitas, fine, but non-descript, and one the enchiladas verdes, ok as well. There are 5 or 6 really wonderful Mex/tortillerias near my home at 82 nd and Roosevelt in Jax Hts that are much more satisfying as a food experience.

                9 Replies
                  1. re: Humbucker

                    Taqueria Coatzingo, at 76th street, and on 82nd Street, and Taqueria Tulcingo, 83rd street are my close faves. There are also several taco stands and a truck or two near the 82nd street train stop, plus the hole-in-the wall on Roosevelt about 86th st I can't recall the name. Coatzingos are best,and you can dine in.

                    1. re: chasamark

                      I went to Coatzingo on Friday because I had read a lot of good reviews. I found the place disappointing. I stayed with the recommended dishes--tacos, lengua con salsa verde, pozole. The high point was the salsa verde which has a excellent complex flavor. The tacos on the other hand were disappointing. We go the tripa, al pastor and barbacoa. They use tripe that has not been properly cleaned. The al pastor and barbacoa meat was not flavorful and a bit dry. Moreover, I saw one of the cooks reusing uncooked salsa from another table. Overall, I take back my criticism of Nixtamal. Given the quality of its ingredients, their excellent masa and tortilla, my vote goes to them. I am still in search of a go-to-place for chile relleno and chicken pipan.

                      1. re: mielimato

                        There are things I like about Coatzingo and there are things I don't like. I think their guacamole is too runny, and just plain don't like it. Their tortillas just cannot compare to Nixtamal. But what gets me most is the level of cleanliness. Sometimes their salsa smells like latex (think dish washing gloves) and general unappetizing smells. I enjoy their mole, salsa verde. While I've had enjoyable meals at Coatzingo, overall, I just don't see a reason to go there anymore. Nixtamal is clean, has items that are reliably good, their guacamole is much better, their salsas are delicious and their specials are interesting and tasty.

                        1. re: mielimato

                          Coatzingo seems to have gone downhill in the last year or so. I used to enjoy their tortas and cemitas, particularly the al pastor, but now they're skimpier, less flavorful and less carefully assembled.

                    2. re: chasamark

                      I agree with you. I find the place to be good but not worthy of all the glowing reviews. The one thing I will say to its credit is that they do seem to use top notch ingredients. I take my kid there and let him eat with abandon without reservations. But most street car tacos are tastier than the tacos they serve.

                      1. re: mielimato

                        Part of why Nixtamal receives glowing reviews and why I keep going back is because of their tortillas and masa. It's simply better than everywhere else, plus as you noted the quality of their ingredients in general is higher than street car tacos. Their salsas also have fantastic depth of flavor. That being said, some of their dishes are better than others. The tacos al pastor, barbacoa are my favorite. The skate is my least favorite. Their guacamole used to be a great deal, but seems to get smaller and smaller.

                        1. re: Pookipichu

                          Yes their tortillas and masa is excellent. All made in house. That's what keeps me coming back. Other things are lacking. I sometimes find their flavors to be a bit too shy or understated. For example, their pozole could be bolder.

                          1. re: mielimato

                            Good to know about the weird smells, that would definitely turn me off, of course, the moderators might not allow that comment to stay :) but am I the only one that really likes the tacos at demole, I think their shrimp and chicken tacos are excellent, and their quesadilla's are very good, and I like their hot green sauce. I get them all the time. The shrimp aren't on the menu but you just ask for them. I didn't particualry care for Nixtamal, the fish taco was very unappetizing to me, and their gaucomole was nothing special..just saw episode yesterday of Mexico cooking show, with Rick bayless, and got such inspiration for so many different variations of guacomole, love that show.

                    3. Hi, I stopped in at NIXTAMAL on my way back from the US Open. I was excited by possibilities like the Crab items mentioned above, but didnt notice/hear about any specials.

                      My friend and I mostly shared a bunch of tacos. I thought the PASTOR and SHRIMP were very good. The others I'd just call good. The HORCHATA was also quite good, but not as good as the PEANUT PUNCH I had back in Brooklyn. The TRES LECHES was very ordinary. Would not re-order.

                      I was hoping for some more menu items to select from, but perhaps I was just misinformed about the place.

                      The single best cheap Mexican item I had on this last site visit was the TACO ARABE ($3) off a truck either outside the 14th st station on 8th Ave or outside the 18th st station on 7th. I didnt eat it until I got back to my base, otherwise I would have eaten 3 or 4, in spite of just having finished a BISTRO BURGER from CORNER BISTRO (fantastic, $8.50 ... I believe that is a well known quality burger).

                      1. Just adding a little to the update. I had the chilaquiles last Saturday morning and it was excellent. I ordered it with al pastor and it was enough for two. Most importantly is was delicious. Plenty of hot red sauce, meat was soft with a little char and flavorful. Good mix with the cooling crema. At 11:45 a.m just about every table was taken. I eat at Nixtamalito by the Brooklyn Bridge regularly and love them so I may be a little biased.

                        1. I went to Nixtamal recently and I have to say I am really surprised at all the hype this place has gotten, especially for its tortillas. It may be that the specimen I had was not particularly fresh, but I actually think there are now multiple places in dreaded Manhattan that have far superior tortillas to Nixtamal, such as Otto's, Los Tacos No. 1, and, at a much higher price point, Empellon Taqueria. Perhaps this place was revelatory when it first opened, but, if so, things have definitely changed and it is really not worth the schlep anymore for me.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tjdnewyork

                            Empellon's tortillas are provided by Nixtamal, as they are in a whole lot of a Manhattan restaurants.

                            1. re: saria

                              I just went to Nixtamal for the first time two weeks ago, we loved it. Delicious tacos and really great tamales. I ate about four of the fresh tortillas on the ride home.

                              When you order tortillas by the pound, you can easily see their client list on a wipeboard by the register. They do indeed supply Empellon's tortillas, as well as many many other restaurants.