Friday, August 22, 2008

Best This is What We Did Today, Mom (Two Mondays Ago)

Boy I got behind. But that's what happens when you don't have a computer for a while but also are working pretty decent New Yorker hours. But my job has let up and I got Collin's computer for the time being so let's get to business.

Anyway, as you may just barely remember, couple of weeks ago my brothers were out visiting me, right? And Monday night we had an 11:30 reservation (yes, a little later than usual, but it fit nicely with my work schedule) at La Esquina in the downstairs part (more on that very soon.)

Because I forgot trains run a little less often in the late PM my brothers and I were in a real rush to get to the restaurant but we were received with joy and enthusiasm by Collin, Ali, and Liz.

Now maybe you know about La Esquina, maybe you don't. But the thing about it is it's this taco shop on the edge of Soho that makes tacos that I hate but hamburgers that I like BUT the thing about it is there's this "secret" restaurant underneath that is reservations-only and a real production to get check in with the doorman, he calls downstairs, downstairs calls him back, then if everything checks out, you're ushered through a door in the tacqueria labeled "Employees Only" (or maybe it was "No Entry"?) and make your way down a couple staircases...

Through the kitchen...

And then you're finally in the restaurant!

For a long time I had been quite wary of La Esquina. I was turned off by the legendary production involved in procuring a table and the very sceney reputation of the restaurant and clientelle AND websites like this one certainly didn't make me feel any more comfortable about visiting. But we had been talking about giving it a shot and brothers-in-town was a great reason for shooting so, yeah, as you can see and like I told you, we went.

The interior decorating was very decent, many nods to all sorts of favorite Mexican things but they kept it classy and cool.

Very dark in there, though.

So flashes were a must. Part of the reason (spoiler alert) that the evening was such a victory was the conversation was very lively and involving and fun. See?

Another reason the evening was excellent: Turns out the food was very good. I ordered Tostadas de Tinga for the table and they were very well received. I am a fiend about tinga, probably my favorite Mexican food (tied with proper Tacos al Pastor, of course)

More lively conversation (probably not posed at all, either).

More excellent food. Owen had the shrimp. They were big and they had their heads still.

Liz, Collin, and I all ordered the ribs which were EXCELLENT.

Ali had tacos.
Greg, as he is often inclined to do, had the steak. Whatever the vegetable and potato thing was on the side it sure was good.

I ordered a side of delicious grilled green beans.

And have you ever seen something so beautiful? A huge pile of great-big elotes

Nommy nom nom nom, as they say.

Conversing and enjoying and photographing continued...

Until some of us had had enough...

Until our post-meal portrait sessions outside the restaurant.

So, in conclusion: it is a bit of a hassle to get your La Esquina table and a bit of a production to get in and yes it's full of young and proud New Yorkers BUT turns out it is fun and features rather very good food actually. A quite decent destination dinner for every now and then and maybe a place you could take your parents if you got a table at 5:30 or 6.

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