Thai esquites ($6)
A riff on the Mexican corn salad in which we learn that tom yum broth and Cotija cheese can coexist, especially when the broth is this fragrant, the corn this sweet.
Guacamole "nam prik num" ($6)
Introduces avocado to fish sauce and palm sugar, with roasted tomato and poblano. It sounds like the sort of idea we'd dream up in a "How do we doctor up guacamole?" brainstorming session; wonder if it was going to succeed brilliantly, or fail spectacularly; and fall in love with the results. Really, what doesn't fish sauce improve?
There's no tortilla in sight, rather a 6-inch tuile of Asiago, every bit as appealing as a crisp cheese wafer could be, topped with chorizo, potato purée, black beans, an egg that bursts open on first fork-cut, and tomatillo to enliven the whole thing. The pleasures of huevos rancheros, chorizo-and-eggs, and the cheese-crisped edges of a grilled cheese sandwich all at once.
Filling out the front of the restaurant.
Xixa has an extensive selection of agave spirits, served neat and, if you like, with lime juice and a spicy pomegranate sangrita.
More tables and booths in the back.
Don't look like carnitas, but preserve the essential elements thereof: the rich meat and the crisped-up edges.