Friday, February 19, 2010

La Esquina @ Kenmare Square, NYC

I was trying to be good tonight because I had a 10PM dinner reservation at Eleven Madison. But I got too hungry, so I went to my favorite Mexican place in NYC. It is only two blocks from Crosby Street Hotel, another reason why I love this place! La Esquina is one of those awesome places that do things really well, but look like you wouldn't want to linger too long. It has a gritty NYC charm. It's a walk up and order, eat at the counter type of place. But they really do have the best authentic tacos in NYC (the cochinita pibil is amazing! even after the suckling pig last night). Really good grilled fish tacos, and the elotes callejeros is not bad. I don't really care for their carnitas, though. They set the bar in a city that isn't very knowledgable about Mexican food (where the locals get excited about the "Mexican sodas"...eye roll..). However, here's the secret: if you happen to go there at about 5 or 6pm, a woman walks through a steel door that says "No Entry" or something like that, carrying a walkie-talkie. She then plops down a stool in front of the door and waits while people start lining up. Talking to people in this line, it turns out they have a "fine dining" restaurant in the basement that is supposed to be amazing. It's a funny scene...guys with their girlfriends try to get in as walk-ins...asking to talk with the Maitre d'...the woman on the stool with the walkie-talkie points to the video camera in the corner, "See, they are watching me. If your name is not on the list, we cannot let you in". I love the immigrants turning the table on the elites! Sí, se puede!

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