Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Ixta


ewindels
 Share

Recommended Posts

“It’s our second day – our second day,” the very charming and comely host apprises us when we walk into IXTA. That sort of warning is usually an ominous sign of poor service and wrong orders to come, but what the hell: it’s a beautiful Friday night after a long and grueling week, the place looks fun and clever, and I don’t mind sitting through early kinks.

And in the end, Ixta turns out to be very worth it. Located just west of Park Avenue on 29th street, the space is small but not overcrowded, and the décor is eye-catching and lively. Of course there’s music, probably louder than most people would like, but this seems to be requisite for Latin restaurants these days, and since it was a Friday night I didn’t mind the slightly insistent festivity. More importantly, the food is definitely worth the trip. Chef Linda Japngie comes from Jimmy Rodriguez’ operations, and so has some experience adding nouvelle luster to otherwise folksy food. At Ixta, she works this magic on Mexican cuisine. The requisite chips are lightly fried, and though flavorful the two accompanying salsas were a little on the bland side for my tastes. The inventive cocktail list is worth exploring, as it uses top quality rums or tequilas and so doesn’t leave you flattened after just one. (The two of us did manage to try all seven between us).

There’s a wide range of starters. We split the ensalada noche, perfectly fried calamari atop a perfectly dressed heap of greens. The lobster taquitos, on the other hand, although certainly pretty looking, were largely devoid of flavor. The lamb is a must – perfectly charred on the outside and just rosy on the inside atop a dollop of really luscious guacamole. The duck is just as rosy and delicious. They come with a small bowl of rice and another of beans, making the extra order of paprika fritas superfluous (the menu leads you to believe you need to order extra sides, so ask first). The “margarita meringue tart” at the end had more meringue than tart, but after a fairly filling meal, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

And for just the second night, the service wasn’t bad. It does take an inordinately long time to get cocktails, but I can only assume that this is due to careful preparation, cause boy are they worth it. The taquitos were supposed to be served with the ensalada noche, but wound up being delivered with the entrees, which themselves took a bit longer than usual (Chef Japngie kept popping out of the kitchen to chat with the table next to us, which may explain this). Otherwise the trip was well worth it.

Edited by ewindels (log)

Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
Coriander-charred baby lamb with crushed avocado, jalapeño crème fraîche and an ancho glaze? Yes, that too: not so much Americanized Mexican food as Mexican food as served in Mexican hotels, for American tastes. In that vein: tortilla-crusted yellowfin tuna; stuffed shrimp; a roasted striped bass with fried zucchini and a Veracruz salsa.

Ixta (Sam Sifton) (from the NYTimes DIGEST update for the weekend of 4 June to 6 June 2004. Scroll down for the appropriate link.)

Soba

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What, no chimichanga? Never worry, it's there, though on the dessert menu, paired with toasted almonds and berries, with excellent whipped cream. Perhaps you would like a tequila with that, with a smokey finish? No, thank you, good night.

Is it me?

It seems that Sam's reports are becoming hazier and hazier, as if written after looking too often through the bottom of a glass.

It's just me, right?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting you should say that. I got the vague feeling that the review was negative, but I wasn't absolutely sure - it seemed to be more an implication than anything definite:

Perhaps you would like a tequila with that, with a smokey finish? No, thank you, good night.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it me?

It seems that Sam's reports are becoming hazier and hazier, as if written after looking too often through the bottom of a glass.

It's just me, right?

I have the same feeling. Sam's earlier D.J. columns read more like reviews. The more recent ones read like rough drafts of the first chapter of a novel. In any event, I've enjoyed these impressionistic riffs. I believe this was the last one. From now on, Mr. Bruni will be writing the main reviews and the D.J. entries as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems Mr. Sifton was in a bad mood that evening. Too bad for the restaurant. I thought it sounded pretty good despite what to me sounded like a disparaging tone.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Pan, sorry it took so long to reply. Gosh, it was a while ago, but I think $10 each.

Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
The baby lamb chops spend two days in a marinade of lime, star anise, coriander and chili peppers. The chops are then grilled, but not for too long, and gussied up with a nicely balanced jalapeño crème fraîche and, just in case that were not flavor enough, an ancho glaze.
But first, try getting your server's attention, a task that, during my visits to Ixta, always grew more difficult as the meal moved along. My friends and I would be greeted at the start with what seemed like genuine excitement, doted on for a while and then abandoned for spells that lasted just a bit too long. The flip side of Ixta's happy-go-lucky informality was an annoying lack of discipline.

Ixta (Frank Bruni)

Soba

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd just like to point out that it was not me slogging my Jimmy Choos all over the bar!

The night I drank champagne from your slipper—two quarts. It would have held more, but you were wearing inner soles!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hello?" I bellowed into the phone. "Hellooooo?" Someone at Ixta had picked up after a few rings, started to say something and then, it seemed, become distracted and wandered off. I listened endlessly to what sounded like bar chatter before finally giving up. This exasperating experience replayed itself another few weeks down the road, when I tried again to make a reservation and a man cheerfully blurted, "Hold on." I did. Time passed. Tides turned. Glaciers shifted. He never returned.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I think I'm becoming a fan of Bruni's writing...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...