Café De La Esquina
The folks at La Esquina were smart to tone it down when they made the venture across the East River to Williamsburg. An exclusive dungeon dining room guarded by a guy with a clipboard and a ponytail might work just fine in Nolita, but that stuff ain’t gonna play in Brooklyn. Instead, management took their successful formula of street tacos + sexy restaurant and applied it to a Williamsburg appropriate venue, the old Wythe diner (most recently home to a restaurant called Relish). The old school diner remains in tact, but a taco stand has been added, and playing the role of sexy downstairs dungeon is a dark, loungey back room. We like it. A lot.
As for residents, mustache enthusiasts and super fans of Williamsburg, reaction to this La Esquina has been mixed. Most of the complaints tend to come in the price department, and to some extent, we understand that. When you’ve got La Superior down the street slinging gangster tacos at $2.50 a piece, you’re gonna catch flak for prices that are almost double that. But we tend to think there’s room for more both approaches, and we’re glad La Esquina opened it’s doors in the ’Burg. They’ve got an amazing patio for the summer months and are doing a serviceable brunch too, which adds to its Infatuation friendliness. The menu is pretty much the same as what you’ll find in Manhattan, plus a few surprises like a burger and some mole meatballs. Service is a little sluggish, but everyone is friendly, so as long as you keep putting back Modelos from the tap and are cool with spending a little cash, you should come away happy.
Quesadilla De Huitlacoche This tasty, mushroomy quesadilla with corn and Mexican truffle is unique and delicious, and it’s a La Esquina specialty. Order it.Cangrejo Tostada Our favorite of the tostadas on the menu. Cool crab meat is piled high on a half-dollar sized tostada with mango and spicy mayo. It’s one big bite of goodness, and it should be on your table.Tinga De Pollo Chicken might not be the sexiest tostada option on the menu, but across the board, La Esquina’s slow-cooked, shredded chicken is a winner.Elotes Callejeros Don’t mess around. Each person at the table needs to have an ear of this grilled corn in hand. You’ll be smiling...with sht in your teeth.Taquitos I’m not even sure why they’re called taquitos, because as far as we can tell, these are tacos. Someone send over a translator. Until then, we’ll tell you that we love the pork (shoulder and pulled) and the fish tacos. On our last visit, the “fish” was actually shark. At least that’s what our waitress told us. Can you put shark in a taco? Isn’t that against some kind of maritime law?Mole Enchiladas If you’re down with some mole, you’ll love these enchiladas. Just don’t expect to see a big cheesy mess arrive at the table, like you might at a Tex-Mex joint. These are relatively dry, and slightly sweet and smoky - just like a good mole should be.Hamburguesa* We don’t need a translator to tell you that means hamburger. There’s no mistaking it ones this arrives at your table either. It’s a hamburger alright. We liked the pickled jalapeños on top, but that’s about all that sets this apart. Skip it.
We’ve always liked the empanadas at La Esquina, and they’re a special every now and again here at the Café. If you get the opportunity, hit the spinach and cheese ones.