A warm, drizzly New York evening and the corner of Kenmore and Lafayette make for the perfect meeting spot for a post-work dinner and drinks. Grab an outdoor sidewalk seat at La Esquina Taqueria and Café, take a deep breath, exhale and de-stress from the workday. Promptly order a pitcher of Margaritas ($42) and peruse the mouthwatering menu.
Deciding what to order at La Esquina is a difficult task. The menu is pretty extensive, they offer an wide assortment of tortas (a Mexican sandwich, served on an oblong 6-8 inch firm crusty white sandwich roll), interesting salads, delicious tacos and main courses. I kept it pretty simple and ordered the De La Casa ($9), a salad which came with organic baby greens, avocado, sesame seeds, a balsamic vinaigrette and a generous topping of crispy fried tortilla strips. I opted to exclude the queso fresco and instead tacked on a side of grilled fish ($5). If you’re not feeling the fish, they also offer organic chicken ($4.50) or steak ($5).
There are three different restaurants within La Esquina, the Café is first-come first-served, the Taqueria is a more traditional sit-down restaurant, and the Brasserie & Tequila Bar, located in the basement, is a speakeasy style joint that’s basically impossible to get into. Reservations are required months in advance and I have yet to enter this forbidden temple of hungry hipsters.
This was my first time eating at the Taqueria. It was definitely a different experience — the waiter was grumpy (which he owned up to later on), the awning was a tad too small to keep the rain sprinkles from hitting my shoulder and the prices were a more than anticipated. For now, I’ll stick to the cheap and easy Café for my fish and avocado tacos. But just for you, our loyal blog readers, I’ll put my name on the waiting list for the basement. Hopefully we’ll have a report by Christmas.