I had a good ten dollar lunch at Ixta yesterday: Excellent chunky guacamole made with ripe avocados, served with greaseless homemade tortilla chips; a very tasty, well-seasoned black bean soup; and a fine if somewhat strange sandwich consisting of chorizo, smoked gouda and red onion on an all-American hamburger bun. Ixta, you might remember, was seminal New York Mexican chef and force of nature Zarela Martinez' second Gotham restaurant. She opened it a couple of years ago and just couldn't make a go of it in what was then a bit of restaurant no-man's land. So she sold it to her employees, who seem to be making a go of it. It helps that Park and Madison Avenue between 23rd and 29th Streets is clearly the next happening restaurant scene in the city. The recent openings of A Voce, Country and Urena are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Just today I heard that Zak Pelacio of Fatty Crab and 5 Ninth is opening a Malaysian restaurant in a new hotel in the neighborhood. Ixta is at 48 E. 29th Street, 212-683-4833. I won't rate it until I eat dinner there.
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