simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: La Esquina
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Thursday, 6 September 2007

La Esquina

Here's a place steeped in buzz, controversy, stories and articles. 106 Kenmare was the home of the Corner Deli, a mom and pop operation since 1932, set up in a tiny wedge shaped diner in a neighborhood now known as NoLita. Click here for a look inside. The place was purchased by partners Serge Becker (Lure Fishbar, Area, B Bar, Joe's Pub), architect Derek Sanders, Cordell Lochin and restaurateur James Gersten. It is now home to La Esquina - both a street level Tacqueria (with a menu developed by Café Habana founder Richard Ampudia) and a restaurant located underground. The restaurant downstairs is where the controversy lies - some even calling the Tacqueria a front for the restaurant. The entrance is a door marked "Employees Only" leading via a convoluted route past a kitchen downstairs to a subterranean dining room with a unique decor (I have not been there). Bouncers, lists - the scene is reminiscent of the nightclub days of the 1980s with their "exclusive" admittance policies (e.g. Studio 54, Mudd Club et al.). But I am intrigued and will investigate getting into the restaurant. When I first visited the Tacqueria soon after it opened in 2005, the place was insanely packed. Lines and chaos prevailed. Since then, things have calmed down and getting a meal there is now a much more civilized affair. Our office gets lunch there regularly and it has become a favorite. You can take out or eat outdoors at the small tables ...


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