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Home > Restaurants > La Esquina Brasserie & Tequila Bar

La Esquina Brasserie & Tequila Bar

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

114 Kenmare St., New York, NY 10012 40.721411 -73.997412
at Lafayette St.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
646-613-7100 Send to Phone
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  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Price Range: $$$

    Key to Prices and ratings

    Upscale
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    • Generally Excellent
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    • Good
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  • Reader Rating:

    8 out of 10

      |  

    4 Reviews | Write a Review

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Hours

Daily, 6pm-2am

Nearby Subway Stops

6 at Spring St.; J, Z at Bowery

Prices

$18-$28

Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Bar Scene
  • Celeb-Spotting
  • Dine at the Bar
  • Hot Spot
  • Late-Night Dining
  • Private Dining/Party Space
  • Romantic
  • Singles Scene
  • Design Standout
  • Teen Appeal

Alcohol

  • Full Bar

Reservations

Recommended

Profile

It starts when a friend implores you to eat downstairs at La Esquina, the subterranean brasserie branch of Derek Sanders and James Gersten's Mexican axis of Kenmare Street. The food’s cheaper and probably better at the walk-in-only cafe around the corner from the restaurant’s entrance—a door disguised by a taqueria counter and a sign that reads “Employees Only”—but there’s a certain category of New Yorker who thrives on having what others don’t. A reservationist will ask you if you’ve “dined with us before,” and in general, it takes knowing someone in the industry, smooth talking, or (velvet-rope flashback) looking good and confident at the door, to waltz in at prime time.

The reward is dining in a Mexican dungeon as styled for a Vogue shoot, complete with metalwork, distressed stone walls, and water dripping on the back of your neck (though the owners can probably thank the air conditioner for the added atmospherics). Making up the grinning crowd at secluded booths and in private cells (?): a healthy mix of models, cougars, and maybe John Mayer picking on Vuelve a la Vida, fresh tuna and shelfish ceviche, with roasted tomatoes, and chipotle chilis; pretty little tacos with perfect accompaniments (grilled steak and charred onions, veal tongue with avocado cream); blistered green beans; or a plate of beautifully charred shrimp. If the food sounds light, you’re right; it’s playing to the delicious crowd.

Recommended Dishes

Ensalada mixta, $10; quesadilla de huitlacoche, $11; tacos, $10

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