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Posted by tpicco on 12/21/2006
Esca is not a typical venue for me and my wife, but a vendor to her company wanted to treat us for a holiday dinner and since he was paying we let him choose. Is it pricey? Well. yes... but everything we had was completely delicious. Portions are small because this isn't a "stuff-your-face" kind of place. These are the food offerings of a food artist. Nothing I had tonight tasted like anything else I have ever eaten, but everything was interesting and delicious. That was, for me, the joy and delight of the restaurant: unusual but excellent combinations of flavors. If I wanted a good but typical run-of-the-mill meal at average prices, there are many reasonibly priced places all throughout the neighborhood with good food. It is, after all, the theater district, and Restaurant Row is only three blocks away. Although it is probably not a place I would eat at regularly if I could afford to, I would visit it several times a year for a change of pace and for unexpected delights. And I would like to add, the staff was remarkably attentive, and though we sat around talking for a good 45 minutes after we finished, and the place was pretty busy, at no point did we feel the least bit rushed. The only warning I might offer is, if you do not like fish, do not go here. 99% of the menu is fish in dozens of different styles & tastes.
Posted by Peter on 11/13/2006
I must be a country bumpkin. i went to Esca on the recommendation of a chef/friend. We had the tasting menu at $75/person and it was one of the best meals i have ever had. The service was attentive and friendly without being obsequious. I went on line to send some info about the place to a friend who also appreciates good food and saw nothing but negatives. It is hard for me to relate to others' experiences since when my wife joined me in New Hampshire a couple of days later from California, i tried to persuade her to take another couple of days off so we could go to New York and eat there.
Posted by Robert on 09/18/2006
I tried to give this place a chance after several people in my office suggested I go there when my parents were in town. The service was great and very attentive. However, I felt that the food was way overpriced for what you got. I had the crab and pasta. It was bascially butter noodles with a little bit of crab. Not worth the 17 or so dollars they charged me. As a restaurant designer I have been to numerous places in the city. I think as a Mario spot this place is not worth it. I think Babbo or Otto are much better choices...
Posted by Lauren on 09/06/2006
First of all, I knew something was wrong when I waited for 40 minutes before I got a menu. After that, we waited an additional 15 minutes to get a piece of bread, and 15 more minutes before they brought us oil for the bread. The appetizers were fine; littleneck clams were nothing extraordinary but the corn salad was good. We ordered the striped bass ($30) and spaghetti w/lobster ($27) - both entrees were incredibly disappointing. Spaghetti came out uncooked - literally hard - and when I complained to the manager, he argued with me that that was how they served it, "al dente." Now, I'm Italian and I have had 'al dente' pasta - this pasta was uncooked. The striped bass was plain and unseasoned. There wasn't even salt or pepper on the table to season the fish up at all. The portions were tiny and not at all worth $30. The manager and server were rude and unhelpful. They did not do anything for our unhappy experience. The wine guy was fine and the busboys were okay too.
Posted by Patti on 08/31/2006
My husband and I are ex New yorkers and come back to enjoy the city at least once a year. We chose Esca because Lydia Bastianich's son was part owner and the reviews we read were wonderful. We always invite one of our New York friends along with us to introduce them to new experiences. We made sure to make reservations well in advance. We arrived at the restaurant early and did not mind waiting until a table was ready for us. After that, it was all down hill. The staff was extremely rude. We were made to feel that a simple request of bread was not appropriate and we were told so. The waiter and the staff were condescending. The food was mediocre at best with the emphasis on presentation rather than flavor, which was bland and less than ordinary.
Posted by matt on 08/26/2006
The main dish came with about 4 raviolis, which tasted more like something from a mediocre and inexpensive italian restaurant. The waiter also refused to change my dish literally 2 minutes after I had placed the order, saying that they already started preparing it and could not change. Is that what you call good service?
Posted by A tourist on 08/25/2006
We had sardines we didn't love, black sepia linguine had a spicy tomato sauce that didn't go with it well, and monkfish was bland. Service was good as well as wine and condiments, bread and olives. But for almost 100 dollars- not wortth it.