When La Esquina opened, it opened with a huge buzz. I could never get a reservation. Although I have been to the take-out for lunch which you can't beat. A few bucks for a taco. The actual restaurant was coveted by the who's who. After being given the nasty phone conversation that basically goes like this. "we only have 530 and 1130 available, is that ok", I gave up. Oh how life changes in a recession.
Last night, my friend called and we walked in 5 minutes later and sat down. What is really cool about La Esquina is the setting. Made me think of the days of yore where there was prohibition. You walk into the attached shack where you can get a taco to go where there is the secret door. You give them your name and they allow you to walk down the stairs. Then someone else asks for your name and lets you then proceed through the kitchen to the other side where there is a coat check and another name check. There lies the bar. Dark and in the bowels of NYC but groovy and hip at the same time. There are a variety of rooms off the bar where people are eating. We got seated immediately.
It isn't about the service and it is certainly not about the food but it is about the vibe. You definitely feel like you are somewhere happening and secretive at the same time. That part I liked. Meaning, I didn't dig the food.
We began with a group of appetizers to split. Soup and quesadillas. Eh. The sangria was quite tasty though. A few corns for the table. Chicken and tacos. Nothing great. Nothing inedible. Yet, the morning is always the test. Both Fred and I looked at each other this morning and said the same thing…bad food.
Alas. I'd go back and have a drink anytime and I still do love the taco stand on a hot day but down in the cellar….not for the food.