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“La Esquina”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Latin/Mexican Soho Moderate Great

bana, but with tacos, tortas, and agua frescas.

Aside from the magnificent tacos, the larger, full-service café around the corner offers a menu of super fine food in an equally visually inspired setting. The café is airy and sleek, designed with mile high ceilings, lined with raw weathered wood panels, wide old diner booths, and tall shelves filled with vintage books and record albums (remember those?). It was there that I spent a late afternoon with my friend Kathy, discussing work, men (yes, the one who made me that dinner), and an amazing meal we recently had at Vine Street Café on Shelter Island. People, have you been there yet? Honestly, I don’t know what you are waiting for. Call them and go: 631-749-3210. Chef-owners Terry Harwood and Lisa Murphy met at Union Square Café and went on to work for Andre Balazs at Chateau Marmont and Sunset Beach before opening this white-washed bistro where they are cooking up some stellar American fare. I know I have mentioned it before, but really, it’s time to go. It’s the best place to eat out East. (Okay, I am biased. I must tell you, in full disclosure, I am dating the sous chef. But I loved Vine Street even before we were together. Really, trust me it’s good. It’s not just because of him.)

Anyway, Kathy had come out to visit me in the North Fork with her husband Ronnie and we were recounting our meal at Vine Street—specifically the mind-blowing steaks—when we were served our first courses—a bowl of cold soup and a ceviche. And in an instant, the conversation stopped. Their cold and creamy green tomato and avocado soup was picture perfect, served in a shallow terra cotta cazuela, topped with shaved radishes and bits of avocado and pineapple. It was quite possibly my most intense cold soup experience. I needed a moment after each spoonful. After this experience, I definitely feel like cold soups are totally underrated. This smooth as silk soup was lit up with bright flavors from the tart green tomatoes and a proper dose of lime juice, and balanced by the richness of the creamy avocado. The ceviche was also a winner—juicy shrimp, bursting with sweetness in every bite, steeped in a charred tomato, red onion, chile and lime bath, layered with fresh slices of avocado. After the soup and ceviche, we got back to our conversation and ordered a round of tacos (the tinga, a pescado, and one stuffed with fabulous carnitas thi ... [more, click below]

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