The day of reckoning came on a recent Tuesday for the tacos, enchiladas verdes, cactus salad and pork posole served at Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona, Queens.
Diana Kennedy, the 91-year-old author of 11 groundbreaking cookbooks on Mexico’s many regional cuisines, had just ordered those items for lunch.
Nixtamal is highly regarded as the first New York City outfit to make true masa, what Mexicans call dough made of ground corn, and use it to make tortillas, tamales and many other things. For Ms. Kennedy, never one to mince words, that is not enough to earn the place a free pass.
“Don’t forget that American corn is never as tasty,” said Ms. Kennedy, who grows her own at the three-acre almost-off-the-grid “ecological” homestead called Quinta Diana she maintains in Michoacán in Mexico.