The signs are clear: complaints about space, tighter pants, and a fixation with handlebars (mustache or otherwise). Inevitably, Brooklyn happens.
Today, Cafe de La Esquina becomes the latest to make the jump with the opening of its Williamsburg outpost in the former Wythe Diner.
For those worried about crowds of sharp-elbowed hipster models, cool it. Imitating the exclusive Nolita original is not the intent. The front diner — a relaxed all-day cafe with booths — is where to drink (ginger beer Anocheceres, cucumber jalapeno Pepino Diablos) and order striped bass ceviche, mushroom and hominy tacos, and guisados.
In the dark-mirrored back dining room, chef Akhtar Nawab deviates from the formula with fresh, locally sourced dishes like day boat fluke ceviche with durango peppers, pickled carrots, and pink peppercorns and slow-roasted capon tamale with pumpkin seed mole, garlic, and watermelon (pictured).
The best part: A taqueria garden with alfresco seating will open soon for $10 margaritas and free sunshine.
Being selectively frugal — just another sign.
Cafe de La Esquina at Wythe Diner, 225 Wythe Avenue, between North 3rd Street and Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg (718-393-5500 or esquinabk.com).