New York does many things better than LA. Jewish delis. Pizza. Bad weather. What they do not do well is Mexican food. So The Monster should have known better than trying out La Esquina.
Look, the upstairs is cute in a sort of Escuela meets hipster way with distressed hard wood floors, chipped and worn tables, cool art and a selection of records on a shelf adding to the laid back vibe. And the swanky downstairs where you must pass muster and make reservations an insane month in advance might be a lot of fun. But the food isn’t good.
To start queso fundido, queso chihuahua, roasted pumpkin seeds, chile de arbol, plantain chips. This is a sweet dish, almost tastes like dessert. At first The Monster loves it. Then he likes it. By the end he’s almost wishing he wasn’t eating it as the sweetness becomes cloying. The pico de gallo is enough pleasant, the chips are merely ok. Everything goes downhill from here.
Camarones, sauteed shrimp, onions, peppers, lettuce, avocado, chipotle salsa. Small shrimp, slightly undercooked. Gross. The pickled onion tries to save this dish but it’s ultimately unwieldy and not great. Tacos pescado, grilled skewered shark, cabbage, red onions, salsa verde. The tortilla is hard, the fish merely ok. Blah.
La Esquina mole negro echilidas, rotisserie chicken in mole, rice, iceburg and radish salad, cotija, crema. The mole is not good. It’s thick and gloopy and leaves an acrid taste in the mouth. Covered in further fouling crema, it’s proof that while New York may be a culinary capital of the world, they best leave the Mexican cooking to places in Mexico (like LA). This dish sucks donkey balls.
Luckily, the service also is lacking.
The Monster has learned his lesson.
Why go? You live in New York and swear everything about it is better than LA. Also, you’re an asshole.
Monster rating: 1½/5 Monsters
114 Kenmare Street
New York, NY 10012