To celebrate its 17th birthday, East Village mainstay Esperanto is offering $17 dinner entrees and giveaways every day through November 1. A final celebration party will be hosted Nov. 4 with a 2-hour open bar, live music and a raffle with the grand prize of a $500 party at Esperanto on the night of the winner’s choosing.
It will be a party like it’s 1999!
Esperanto owner Dimitri Vlahakis, who co-owns both Motorino locations, Alice’s Arbor and Alice’s Market, La Gamelle and Summit Bar, sought to provide an authentic Latin American concept through Esperanto with live music that sets the mood. The restaurant is evocative of a Brazilian botiquin, a beachside watering hole that serves as a community social spot. To add to the tropical flair the brightly colored walls are washed in lively shades of cerulean blue and canary yellow, and windows accented with paintings of birds and tree branches. The tropical and creative vibe even extends outside of the restaurant, as you can dine al fresco with La Plaza Cultural Park right across the street.
The inspiration is translated in signature creations, starting with Chayote Salad, a refreshing blend of chayote, creamy avocado and hearts of palm, a bright kick of citrus with segmented oranges, and a slight herbaceous freshness with cilantro. Ceviches De La Casa are served with your choice of crab with avocado, corn, scallions, and lime citrus, shrimp with tomatoes, chipotle pepper and orange citrus, or red snapper with corn, peppers, onions and citrus.
Entrees include Frango de Casa, pan-seared chicken with cumin-coriander adobo sauce and topped with jalapeño butter, and Lombo de Porco, a juicy pan-seared pork tenderloin marinated in passion fruit and served with mashed sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach. Various traditional stews include the Feijoada, with Bahian pork and black beans, served with white rice and sautéed collard greens, and the Camarão da Feira, with shrimp, coconut milk, tomato and hearts of palm. Other unique entrees infused with cachaça are the Pescado Esperanto, pan-seared market fish with a cachaça cream sauce, served with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach, or the vegetarian Caipirinha Rice Plate, rice cakes infused with cachaça and topped with roasted corn, black bean salsa and a side of sweet potato puree.
The generous sides can’t be missed, such as crispy Yucca Fritta with a flavorful punch of garlic and spice in the house-made mojo sauce, or the Tostones, crispy plantain patties, served alongside black bean dip.
Dessert selections include Molten Chocolate Cake, creatively infused with Mexican-based Kahlúa and orange, and Coconut Flan, a creamy custard studded with toasted coconut flakes and a smooth caramel topping.
The cocktail program includes traditional Caipirinhas, Mojitos and Cachaca-Wine Sangria, beers and wine, as well as interesting mixed drinks, such as the Snowfield, with Santa Teresa añejo rum, coconut milk and ginger syrup, or The Spell, with Vida mezcal, home-made lime and orange juice and a cayenne pepper rim. You can also spice up any of the juice bar selections with the addition of cachaça.
Esperanto continues to succeed because of its commitment to all aspects of Latin culture, where entertainment is included with carefully curated nightly live music program, from samba singers to Afro-Latin bands, to add yet another cultural element to the overall Esperanto experience.