La Esquina - Upstairs Brasserie vs Not-So-Secret Downstairs
I've read that the menu at both the upstairs brasserie and the reserve-three-weeks-in-advance downstairs dining areas at La Esquine on Kenmare Street are the same.
I'm just wondering if this is actually true or not. Are there any added benefits to securing a dining reservation downstairs, other than feeling exclusive?
Not the same at all - you can view the menus on the website. The upstairs is fairly traditional, straightforward (but quite solid) Mexican - their brunch is especially good. Downstairs it's fancified a little, quite good if not as exciting as, say, Empellon - caveat that I haven't been downstairs since Chef Nawab left. Don't know what the new guy is doing, if he's even changed the menu yet, or what. Could be better / worse, couldn't say. (The upstairs menu doesn't really change with the chefs...)
The Chile Relleno is available on both floors, yet for some reason costs $4 more if you eat it downstairs. Never had them back-to-back but it didn't appear there was any difference between them - kind of lame of them to do that, in my opinion. At least dress it up some fancier cheese or something to warrant the price difference...
Downstairs is insane loud during peak hours and very much a "scene", recommended for drinks and dining with someone you don't really want to talk to....