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La Esquina Corner Deli

114 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012

Mexican food that will simultaneously satisfy the craving for tacos coming out of a dirty hole in the wall and elegant quesadillas made with Mexican truffles. The three locations (low-key corner taqueria, casual, upstairs cafe, and trendy, downstairs brasserie) will cater to every mood.
The atmosphere and interior of La Esquina hits close to home for me, bringing me back to the days of cheap California-style Mexican food in a white-washed surf shack on the beach. While the food isn't the most genuinely Mexican, the fact that it's served in a space that pays so much attention to detail certainly makes up for the lack of authenticity. I feel like I could probably eat 7 or 8 of the market fish tacos with cabbage, red onion, and salsa verde, though an order only comes with 2 served on soft corn tortillas. The shrimp tacos are the standout, though, perfectly plump and served with a rich, spicy chipotle salsa and some creamy avocado, hitting every note. Again, I could probably polish off 4 servings of these.
The margaritas aren't anything special at the cafe, but they do pack a punch for the price. Downstairs in the brasserie, though, the light and fresh Mexican transforms into a complex, sexy arrangement of small plates for just a few dollars more. The drinks at the brasserie are at another level entirely, bringing together combinations of ingredients and flavors that I have yet to see anywhere else. The Toddy Frio features Reposado Tequila, apple cider, chamomile tea, lime juice, and mint leaves for a surprisingly light and refreshing drink, while the passion fruit or blood orange margaritas add a barely sweet, exotic essence to high quality tequila. The brasserie will have you desperate to try everything on the menu, but reservations are necessary. For those more spontaneous nights, staying upstairs is still a great play.
114 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012
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