La Esquina

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69 Not Terrible

Like a subterranean house party in Tulum.

114 Kenmare St., New York, NY, 10012


Reserve on OpenTable

Known For

The lowdown

This is the place your parents warned you about when you moved to New York: a literal underworld packed with the kind multihyphenate party people who are equally enthusiastic about yoga and mezcal. It’s urban Tulum. There’s less fuss at the walk-in-only café 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. Its heyday is over but with a wake strong enough to keep it a tough door. The reward for entrance is dining that’s like going to a house party held by a Mexican genie who lives inside a bottle of Justin Timberlake’s tequila. Making up the grinning crowd at secluded booths: a healthy mix of models and maybe the runner-up to People’s Sexiest Man Alive picking his way through red-snapper ceviche, cauliflower-and-avocado taquitos, grilled-octopus tostados, or a plate of tuna tartare with a tamarind glaze. If the food sounds light, you’re right; it’s playing to the delicious crowd.

What you need to know

Recommended DishesSeared-cauliflower-and-avocado taquitos; red-snapper ceviche; grilled-octopus tostadas.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelBring earplugs!