The Exciting New La Esquina Taqueria in SLO
Dan and I just had the most extraordinary dining experience at the new La Esquina Taqueria in the Creamery on Marsh at Nipomo streets. We knew it was owned by two great restaurateurs, Leonard and Wendy Cohen, who also own Ciopinot in the Creamery, so we arrived with high expectations.
We’ve known Leonard since 1996 when we relocated from San Francisco to SLO County, while he owned and operated the Olde Port Inn in Avila Beach (which he sold to his chef who was there several years ago). We followed the Cohen’s rise as they created an upscale seafood restaurant specializing in cioppino and Pinot Noir they named Ciopinot in SLO, and we have always been very fond of the place. Finally, he has created an upscale Mexican restaurant we love, La Esquina!
A while back (we’ve forgotten the exact time) Leonard told us of their plans for this upscale Mexican taqueria and it took quite a while to create before they opened it. Not only that, we didn’t want to go too soon after they opened so that they had a chance to get the operation in good order. Well, we finally visited last Saturday evening, February 17, 2018, and experienced an amazing gourmet meal. La Esquina Taqueria is everything we’ve hoped for in an upscale Mexican restaurant in SLO County, and it’s about time this happened!
From their webpage at www.laesquinaslo.com we learned the history of this great new eatery:
“Brought to you by the owners of Ciopinot Seafood Grille, Leonard and Wendy Cohen, La Esquina Taqueria is the perfect addition to San Luis Obispo. Seeing a need for fine dining, classic, Mexican cuisine in SLO, Leonard’s passion for authentic Mexican food in SLO could not be sidelined. His idea for La Esquina Taqueria conceptualized years ago and he is thrilled it is finally a reality. The Cohen’s put the utmost detail and care into La Esquina; the exquisite decor, the authentic recipes, and the detailed service will leave you wanting to come back time and again.”
We made the great discovery that would, indeed, make us want to return again and again. When we were seated for early dinner on a Saturday night, we were the only ones standing at the door just before 5 p.m., but a line of people followed us in soon after. By 5:30 p.m. the place was filled with happy diners. After our excellent meal, we understand why!
Our waiter Zack, who provided excellent service, started us out with complimentary chips and salsa, which came with both roasted tomato and a chile verde salsa. From there we moved on to try the baked Blue Point oysters with tequila, chipotle chile, spinach, chorizo, and asiago cheese.
We also loved the chorizo clams with onions, jalapeno, tequila, cilantro, chicken stock, and garlic butter.
Our next favorite was the fresh Dungeness crab enchiladas with Monterey Jack cheese rolled in corn tortillas in a chile verde sauce , topped with red chile sauce–it was so decadent and rich, we couldn’t finish it all but the leftovers the next day provided us a great lunch!
We also ordered the three taco plate, one with the rotisserie pork and pineapple dish of the day, another with prawns sautéed with garlic, lime juice, and salsa verde, and a taco of fried blue point oysters with fennel slaw, radish, and chipotle creme.
Our grand Mexican meal ended with a chimichanga caramel cheesecake wrapped with a flour tortilla and deep-fried, topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream. Decadent and generous in portion, if you love sweets you’re certain to love this one. There’s also a chocolate choice of taquitos. This is the type of Mexican restaurant we’ve been yearning for–perfectly done by the Cohens!
Learn much more about this great Mexican taqueria and check out the menu at: www.laesquinaslo.com, Open nightly 5 to 9 p.m.
La Esquina Taqueria
1049 Nipomo St.
San Luis Obispo, CA