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[Photo: Nikki Goldstein]

There's little predictable about brunch at Crema. The food is authentically Mexican, but that doesn't make it straightforward or simple. It's rich, layered, and twisted up just a bit—a refreshing change of pace. Julieta Balesteros' chilaquiles ($15) are the perfect example. What's normally more like nachos—salsa or mole-soaked crispy tortillas, sometimes piled high with accoutrements—gets turned into a dish of tremendous proportions, enough for two to be sure.

The tortillas come in crunchy little strips, not unlike what you'd find atop a salad, but they're soaked full of flavor from both red and green salsa made in house—spicy and sweet. There's a good amount of liquid, but it quickly gets sopped up by everything else thrown in: chihuaha cheese that oozes and stretches, shredded chicken breast, cilantro, and a good dose of onions. It's the latter that make the dish taste almost like a Mexican chicken soup, so dense and thickened with cheese that no spoon is necessary. Not enough? There whole thing is crowned with two poached eggs, and a kicky mimosa rings in at just a buck extra.

Crema Restaurante

111 West 17th Street, New York NY 10011 (map)
212-691-4477

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