Dining

Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Cocina

ABC Cocina uses flavors to be reckoned with

Just try to dine at ABC Cocina without ordering the guacamole.

Almost before you settle into one of the fetching banquettes at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's comely follow-up to ABC Kitchen, your waiter will be all over you, proffering a bowl.

Let him or her foist. Pelted with sunflower seeds and English peas, hooked on the side with a big wedge of lime and joined by warm, crunchy tortillas ($11), this guacamole is as satisfying a vehicle as any we've had for inhaling avocados (get the recipe here).

The dish is also a welcome buddy during the ordering process, and a bridge to carry you across each wave of Spanish- and Latin-inspired small plates.

A word of warning: We do not consider ourselves meek of mouth, but the chile heat of some dishes here comes on like a bullet train.

A sugar snap pea salad with citrus dressing and sour cream ($10) sounds serene. But this light, bright salad conceals an off-putting blitzkrieg's worth of chiles. Same goes for the spring pea empanada with green chile yogurt ($6).

But most of the dishes we had were soul-satisfyingly on point. Try the arroz con pollo, with bits of crackling skin and lemon zest ($19); gooey, spicy ham-and-cheese fritters ($10); and the patatas bravas, with a spicy-tangy sauce and rosemary aioli ($8).

ABC Cocina 38 E. 19th St. New York NY 10003 212-677-2233

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