The two ladies working at the very back of the dimly lit, otherwise empty dining room appeared surprised when I walked in for an atol de granillo. Not surprised by my order, I gathered, but surprised by the very fact that I'd stepped inside, though I couldn't figure why. (The restaurant was open for the day; the weather, on a late morning in January, was relatively balmy.) One lady ducked into the glassed-in kiosk at the front of the restaurant; she soon emerged with a small cup of the atol ($1), and I was on my way.
I didn't get far, however, before another customer appeared. She disdained the door, made a beeline for the window, and put her finger to something just above the sliding partition in the center: a bell, or maybe a buzzer. Regular customers know the drill; some of us newcomers need a little time to catch on.
As for my atol de granillo itself, the texture provided by cooked, dried, roughly ground kernels of corn is easy to see. Some renditions of this Mexican beverage are reportedly sweet; this one was less so. You might enjoy it more with breakfast than on its own.
Isabela's Family Restaurant
4412 Fourth Ave. (44th-45th Sts.), Sunset Park, Brooklyn