La Esquina Corner Deli

This taqueria is one of the three style of eateries that the La Esquina own. They have this little Taqueria, Cafe, and Brasserie, which is their “hidden” restaurant that you can get to through taqueria (reservation required). We wanted just some simple tacos, so we headed out for the Corner Deli.

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The Cafe is right around the Corner Deli as well, but we really didn’t want a long lunch, but more of a quick and easy lunch. Here, it was just walk in, order, eat, and go. Needless to say, they have the least amount of menu offerings. People mainly come here for tacos from what I hear. The inside is small, just counter seats, with cute retro design. Wooden wall, tile floor, and bright yellow bar stools, really have the nice little cozy feel to it.

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They do have outside seating, however, those don’t belong to the Corner Deli, but belong to the Cafe. So, if you want to sit outside, you must go to the Cafe and ask for the table outside. You get a table service out there.

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If you prefer a self service, but with a view, you get that from the Corner Deli. Since it is across a tiny little park, you get to see some green trees instead of another tall building. I thought that was rather nice.

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Let’s move on to the food. We ordered Pescado a la Brasas ($4.75/each), Bistec ($4.25/each), and Carnitas ($3.75/each). The Pescado a la Brasas comes with grilled market fish, shredded cabbage, shaved onions, chipotle mayo, and salsa verde. I was looking for a fish tacos with fried fish, but they didn’t have it, so I was a bit disappointed. This one was ok, but with just one small piece of fish, it was lacking flavor and solidity. It had so much more shredded cabbage to compensate for the lack of fish, it left me unsatisfied.

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Then the Bistec and Carnitas. I must mention, they are not large tacos, they are more on a smaller side. And, they don’t have the layers of tortillas. So, if they get a bit too soggy or whatnot with the sauce, they do break apart while you are eating them. I like the other places where they offer two tortillas per taco.

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Anyways, the Bistec comes with char-grilled marinated steak, onions, cilantro, and salsa roja. It was tasty, the meat was tender and juicy, but here, felt like it was missing some refreshing greens, like the shredded cabbage. It did have small amount of cilantro, but very small amount… I prefer to have both meat and veggies on a taco. Otherwise, you are just eating meat on a tortilla. Maybe some people prefer that, but I like to have the harmony of the meat and veggies.

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Carnitas comes with pork, onions, black beans, cilantro, and salsa macha. Yes, sasla “matcha” which was really exciting, but unfortunately, I didn’t really taste any matcha. The pork itself was tasty and flavorful, but again, I wanted more veggies with the meat…

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To add flavor, I did use their hot sauce that were on their counter, they had three different brands. It is always good to have more options than just one.

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Since we were sharing the lunch, we knew three tacos would not be enough. So, we also ordered Quesadilla de Pollo ($7.00), which comes with rotisserie chicken, pico de gallo, queso Chihuahua, and salsa verde. It was not too large or small, and it was quite tasty. The chicken was flavorful, and all the ingredients really worked well together to create a delicious quesadilla.

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I had a really high hopes for this place, and again, having too much of an expectation can hurt you. The food was good, but not as great as I wanted them to be. If I didn’t have any expectation, then I would have enjoyed them more.  The place was clean, bright, homey, and the staffs were ok. Not super friendly but this is a “self-service” place, so they don’t really have to be extremely nice. I am not sure if I would be going back to the Corner Deli, but I might try their secret Brasserie (when I get a reservation). My searches for great tacos and great Mexican food in NYC continues…

La Esquina Corner Deli – 114 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

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