La Esquina has long been a NYC favorite, and I'm definitely drinking the juice. The food, the atmosphere, and the experience of "discovering" this restaurant all lends to the build up before indulging in a properly hyped Latin meal.
This seemingly unglamorous taqueria unfolds into a more formal dining area. But don't make a scene when you're directed to go down these dingy stairs and through the kitchen to get there. (Trust me, I almost went there until I saw other patrons exiting from the same path.)