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It’s not just the superb chicken-mole enchiladas ($11.03) that merit a trip, or the hefty, moist tamales, or the tightly rolled fried-skate tacos ($2.99) dressed with chopped onion and cilantro. It’s a combination of all of these satisfying snacks, plus the somewhat astounding fact that they’re made from masa, or corn dough, that’s produced on-site from nixtamal, or dried corn soaked in a lime solution and then freshly ground, a process that more and more industrial tortillerias, here and in Mexico, are bypassing. Partner Fernando Ruiz, a moonlighting Manhattan fireman and first-generation Mexican-American, wanted to revive this quasi-lost art, so he and his girlfriend, Shauna Page, imported machinery from Mexico and got to work. Part factory, part taquería, all lovably cobbled together, Nixtamal aims to serve the needs of the neighborhood’s fresh-tortilla-deprived immigrant population and spark the appetite and curiosity of borough-hopping foodies all over town.
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