New York has this way of making you feel like if you’re not outside your apartment, taking advantage of the city, you’re missing out. There’s always some cool bar, restaurant, exhibit or park you MUST BE AT. And when it gets warm, that gravitational-like pull towards the streets is even more powerful. I don’t often fall victim to social pressures, but I’m a sucker when spring and summer arrives. There’s something so tedious about chopping vegetables when there’s fun to be had outside—especially after the miserable winter we had. (Among people who call themselves cooks, that’s probably sacrilege to say. So be it.) All I want to do is lounge outside a restaurant and lazily watch the night pass by.
All that to say: I ate out a lot this week. Among the spots were Shake Shack, B Bar and Grill, and, the one I’ll share today, La Esquina. More than the food, I’ve always heard about the famed door policy of their downstairs lounge. Snooty bouncers? Not so much. Tacos worth trying? Yes, that works.
I ventured there with my boyfriend and fellow blogger Shyema, who we so serendipitously ran into at a party at the Mondrian Hotel. (Oh, you fancy, huh?) By the tail end of the party, we were starving and had Shyema join us for a taco dinner.
Ravenous didn’t begin to explain my state, so I demanded an appetizer. We ordered queso, but this wasn’t your ordinary queso. Cooked in a skillet and garnished with pumpkin seeds, it was about as gourmet as you can make fried cheese. Shyema and the boyfriend loved it, but I have to admit, I’m a loyalist to the yellow-orange, probably fake cheese variety found in grocery stores. The plantain chips, however, were a nice touch.
Their vegetarian taco was a swiss chard-white bean option that didn’t sound too great to my rumbling stomach, so I went for their market fish tacos. (I’m really having a moment with fish tacos.) It was grilled, fresh and juicy—the perfect choice for a warm night. (Tacos come two per plate, by the way.)
Shyema and the boy were less impressed with their steak tacos, calling it dry and not very seasoned.
I wouldn’t necessarily venture back for the food, but I do recommend going there at least once to take in the ambiance. Yes, there’s a bit of that see-and-be-seen attitude, but hey, you’re in New York. Good luck trying to escape that. From your folding chairs, you’ll get a nice view of the Soho/Nolita/Chinatown/Little Italy intersection with plenty of passersby to take in. And though I was too full to try any, hopefully you can save some room for a popsicle—mango! tamarind! coffee!—to go.