La Esquina and I have been seeing each other for about two years. La Esquina is great, we couldn't be happier. And how terrible would it be if I carried on with this? (114 Kenmare St.)
La Esquina is an island on an island. They have the to-go window, the inside counter area, there are tables outside, and there's the cafe directly around the corner. I tend to sit at the inside counter, since I can order individual tacos, verses buying them by twos outside. I also enjoy sitting on a stool inside to people watch. I admire the hair cuts, the clothing, and the unusual eye-wear of the patrons that frequent there. Yeah, it's a fun place. It's a place to get ideas.
Now that I've put up wall paper, we should probably discuss food.... I have never had better tacos, anywhere. I have tasted the fish, roasted and shredded pollo, sausage, white bean, and steak tacos. (I am loyal to them all, and especially loyal to the shredded chicken and the white bean) These tacos are not the generic, strips of lettuce with diced tomato tacos. These are the cabbage, avocado, and sauteed spinach tacos. It's like home food, except it isn't Mom's home food, cuz you know she just throws it together for her own kids. It's like Auntie Tonya's cooking, because she makes it with love...And it's a pleasure to look at.
When I became inquisitive, I learned that La Esquina's menu is inspired by Mexico City, (I wonder if the owner is from Mexico City, or does the city just mean something to him?) and that they have a new executive chef, Akhtar Nawab. Nawab has worked at Bizou, La Folie, Gramercy Tavern, Craft, and Craftbar, where he put on a executive chef hat. I think he knows what he's doing..
Since I just had brunch at La Esquina on Saturday, let's elaborate.
The interior decor. The cream leather booths, the wooden tables painted black, the checkered cushions, the indirect light, the worn wooden floors, the brick, the green cement wall that appears to have natural wear & tare to it. There are various shades of green and shapes on this wall. (Of late, I've noticed that new establishments are doing this pseudo antediluvian look, but it looks too new to appear believably old.) And, compare all this to the lite colored wooden wall that felt like it was just cut and roughly sanded. Goshhhh. (This means I like.)
Then there's the artwork.... La Esquina features various artists in their cafe. Presently there are photos hung on each wall by Gogy Esparza, a local artist. Gogy is a photographer and head barber at two barber shops in the East Village. He has a book out, LIGHTTIME, and this is his first solo debut. Esparza's info. is at the door, yes he can be contacted. My favorite of his work? The -- looking at life through a bubble -- one. I probably should have taken a photo of it.
For brunch I asked for the Pescado, (Or fish tacos, if I were to be less romantic about it.) which was accompanied by pickled radish. Umm, yeah....I recommend this as a brunch/lunch option. And for desert (I guess I like my sweets.) I had the Crema Cocida, which is a Mexican cream panna cotta. This was chaperoned by pineapple and pumpkin seed brittle. Let me just say, woahh. These are flavors that I have never experienced together before. Do you know how exciting that is? I actually got up and brought it to the door so I could shoot it under natural light.
And the books on the back shelf.....Those are the owner's books that he has collected during his travels. E-huh.
I'm a little sad about this ending, but I guess it has to. So....."Get that corn outta my face!" (Nacho)