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Posted by Kathy and husband on 06/18/2005
My husband and I go often to New York. Like a previous reviewer mentioned, we are fans of Mario and have often wanted to go to Esca. We went, a party of four, and were disappointed : Too Fussy/Pretentious really hit the mark, we couldn't agree more. The chef is being let down by the front end. Our waiter, didn't really know much about the menu he was suppose to present to us, he was frankly awkward and inexperienced, and unable to describe the food preparation or the items on the menu. What he resorted to was reading his notes, and assuming that we found that satisfactory. That said: The food was good, not wonderful. The wine sommelier, was arrogant and dissmissive, and not much help in the end. Fortunately, we could make sense of the Italian wine list, but those without experience of Italian grape varietals, would be at the mercy of this fellow: you just might end up paying for an expensive bottle of wine (in order to make the restaurant look good). We are quite use to the smell of good cooking coupled with a certain atmosphere that good food engenders: if the food is wonderful, the restaurant comes alive with the sounds of happy eaters. I would say that at Esca, the food did not inspire that kind of a relishing response from its' patrons. Too bad. I think we'll probably pass on it in the future. They may have been looking down their noses at us, to try to bolster their own reptutations, never a good idea when there is some really wonderful food out there just waiting to be discovered. I would say this is an old fashioned restaurant, that is not quite able to keep up: the food should stand on its' own.
Posted by Jenna Italia on 03/23/2005
I have dined at Esca on several occassions. The food is absolutely mouth watering. The service is exceptional. It is very rare that the staff remembers the wine preference of a guest. My favorite appetizer at Esca is the Ruby Shrimp. This is a seasonal delight. Although it is a little pricey, it is definitely worth it!
Posted by Bill Makeman on 03/10/2005
After eating at Babbo, I figured I would try Esca. Huge disappoinment. The food was eh and the service was poor. The waiter was rude and not the slightest bit accommodating.
Posted by Anonymous on 02/12/2005
We walked in off the street on a busy Thursday night, with a theater curtain looming. We were immediately and graciously seated, and made the curtain with no sweat. The food was fabulous. The wahoo was world class. If I could always find fish this good, I would give up red meat.
Posted by Anonymous on 12/17/2004
The food very good overall. exceptions: the sardines that were oily and smelly as well as the sicilian zupa that did not meet my expectations. The broth was kind of light and gave you the feeling that was not fresh. I could not eat it. Service was good but not what you expect when you pay so much money. Last but not least the sommelier. The worst one I've ever seen in my 40 years of dining out. I am willing to try it again and give them another chance because I am a big fan of Mario.
Posted by FreqVisitor on 12/06/2004
First off, the good. Service was very good, in that it was timely and efficient. And, we liked the atmosphere... But, I thought the whole experience to be too fussy. I am used to fine dining (I love Jean George, and per se) but this place was pretentious just to be pretentious. "Sir, we recommend that you order either a hot or cold appetizer, a salad, a pasta to share and...." I know how to order off of a menu! The chef would like you to have this amuse of white bean and smoked eel (I kid you not) bruschetta. The food tasted oily and just so-so fresh. Much better places than this to drop a bundle.
Posted by Walter on 11/02/2004
I was supposed to meet a business contact here for lunch, but he never showed up. The restaurant was gracious about it - in New York this is rare, so I was relieved. I actually ate at a taco joint just up the street and had a delicious canolli at Pozzo Bakery on 9th Ave between 45 and 46th street afterwards.