La Esquina is amazing for as many reasons as it is terrible. On the up-side, its open 7 days a week from noon to 5 am. I'm not sure who needs tacos at 5 am on a Tuesday, but apparently somebody does. Now, I'll admit that sometimes that someone is me, and when it is, that someone is wasted. But they don't judge. No way. They'll serve tacos to just about anyone willing to pay three times what a taco should cost.
And there's the rub. Every time I go there, I have to spend just a little more than I wish I had to spend. Not a lot more, but enough to make me long for easier access to a Grilled-Stuffed burrito with a side of Cinnamon Twists. And they have a $15 minimum on credit cards, which is just dumb.
But perhaps the greatest thing about La Esquina is its most unlikely menu item... La Hamburguesa. As many people know, hamburgers have become a big thing in New York these days, which is why I'm so surprised that I've never seen the burger at La Esquina on anyone's list (Fidel just informed me that it did make it on the Chowhound's top 5). I probably never would have ordered it myself had it not been recommended to me by a very hungry man, but I'm glad he did. Here's what good about it:
1. It's grilled and it tastes grilled, like a something you'd cook in your backyard. Its the only hamburger I've had in the city that truly tastes like it was good on a charcoal grill. It has the grill marks and everything.
2. It not only has lettuce, tomato and onions, it also has avocado and some sort of special sauce. I guess this is how they justify calling it La Hamburguesa. I also add ketchup.
3. Its just the right size. Its not a freaky-huge burger like you get at Jackson Hole, or 22 feet tall like Dumont. Its not by any means small, but you won't need a bib to eat it.
But the best part is this- since you can only order take-out, the burger gets kind of banged-up, the way McDonald's burgers do. Sort of smushed and delicious. I'm not sure why that makes it so good, but it just does. And to that end, if you eat at the bistro next door (not the fancy spot downstairs), don't order La Hamburguesa. It's just not the same thing. I'm not sure how they manage to screw it up so bad, especially since I believe its the made in the same kitchen as the take-out counter, but stick with the tacos (and order a Michelada).