6 at Spring St.; J, Z at Broad St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Worth St. to 8th St., Allen St. to Greenwich St.
The neon sign reads corner, a nod to the deli that preceded it, but that’s just a colorful ruse. La Esquina, owned by Derek Sanders and James Gersten, is as much a stage as it is a restaurant. The counter-service taqueria on Kenmare dispenses tacos and tortas (made, unfortunately, on baguettes instead of proper Mexican teleras), and a more extensive menu is served at the adjacent café around the corner, a double-height room with recessed shelves full of books and old record albums. A cool tomatillo-avocado soup was refreshing and mildly spiced, and the char-grilled string beans called ejotes do wonders for an oft-overlooked, overboiled vegetable. Authentic as East Harlem? Maybe not, but the chicken tacos are tasty and the prices surprisingly gentle for a neighborhood straddling the Soho-Nolita border.Cafe Hours
Mon.—Fri., noon—midnight; Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.—midnight