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Posted by Anonymous in Hell's Kitchen on 09/24/2008
Went to Esca for the first time with a party of four and thought that some food was good, but not worth the price tag. My dish in particular was fettucine with clams..the waiter warned me that the dish was particularly salty, but I decided to risk it. The pasta was good, although too salty, and the clams were flat-out inedible. I just have to wonder why Mario Batali's restaurant would serve a dish that they know is too salty? On the other hand, others orderd gnocchi and a seafood spaghetti which were delicious. Overall, I would say that there are better options in the 'hood, particularly for that price.
Posted by Janet on 08/27/2008
We ate at Esca this past Sun after the theater. We are foodies who watch cooking shows, who love to cook and eat, and we dine out often. We will not return to Esca. The meal started off great with an outstanding appetizer with sardines, a favorite of ours. We each had a different pasta. Mine had mussels and artichokes. My husband's had crab. The write up on the menu sounded delicious, the problem was finding the miniscule amounts of mussels, artichokes or crab in the dishes. The pasta, a type neither of us had had before was so chewy and bland it was not pleasurable to eat. We eat our pasta al dente (my husband is Italian and a great cook) but this was ridiculous. The dessert was delicious. The best part of the experience was our waiter. He was friendly, courteous and helpful. Needless to say we were overall disappointed particularly because we are fans of the owners and had been told by our waiter that the restaurant had just been awarded 3 stars by the NY Times.
Posted by Anonymous on 08/02/2008
Arrived at 7PM and informed the hostess of a 9PM show we had to be at and she seated us right away in the garden. Apprtizers was a crudo (too much rock salt and very small) and the lobster pasta which was great. We had the baked snapper for 2 (AMAZING) and 3 veggies that they offered (mushrooms, beets and a kale mix). Everything was very fresh and flavorful and we had an amazing flawless waiter. A great place to feel like you are not in NYC.
Posted by Anonymous on 04/28/2008
I dined at Esca prior to the theater on April 24, 2008. We ordered the cavatelli pasta and it was delicious although for the price, 2 oz of pasta was outrageous. We also ordered the Pompano which was either overmarinated or not fresh. It was mealy and tastless. the wine list is good the service at best was fair. I would not recommend nor return to this restaurant. I have been in the culinary side of hospitality for over 25 years. I am qualified to critique restaurants and overall left feeling dissatisfied. Basically, a ripoff taking advantage of New Yorkers!
Posted by Anonymous on 02/20/2008
Dinner for 4 last night seated pleasantly and early for an 8:15 reservation. We were handed a wine list but no menus and after about 10 minutes had to flag down a waitperson to order drinks from the bar. Finally, we were brought menus and one of the staff (whom I later found out is one of the floor managers) turned her attention to us. Dishes were described with enthusiasm, wine discussed with decent authority and advice. Ordered some of the wonderful raw fish appetizers, two pastas and two fish entrees. The whole wheat pasta with sardines, walnuts and fennel (Bigoli) was superb and the fish dishes were perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. Portions are not generous but adequate. We promptly consulted then on deserts, ordered two and coffees and that is where the fun stopped. After a rather long wait for these items, which were ultimately very good, we were completely ignored for the balance of the meal except for incessant visits by the busboy pouring water. After finally flagging down the floor manager for the check twiice, I found her sitting at the bar eating her dinner. When we did get the check it was delivered with an attitude. True, while we were waiting, I was asked by someone if I wanted more coffee but I wasn't expecting to be charged another $3.50 for it! Come on, with a check of $325 for four (before tip) is that necessary? Basically, a really nice dinner ended with a thud because of poor service. There are too many other places to get wonderful food in this town to put up with that.
Posted by Anonymous on 01/31/2008
I dined at Esca for the Restuarant week lunch and it was exceptional! The seafood was amazingly fresh and flavorful. The black fin tuna was amazing and the mackerel was superb., The service was knolwedgeable, attentive and friendly. Respoding to the reviewer below (who claimed discrimination), I saw many tables of women-only diners & they were treated as well as any other patrons. If, in fact, you were "discriminated" against for ordering too little, that is not discrimination based upon gender but based upon a resturant's need to fill its tables with paying customers. Your presumption, Reviewer, that this is a policy against women says more about your perceptions about gender than those of the restaurant.
Posted by Midtown West Local on 01/21/2008
My colleague and I (both of us are female) had 8pm reservations for a Sunday night. When we ordered, we were told that it wasn't enough - there is an "unwritten" minimum order policy that we didn't meet. The manager couldn't even produce this so-called policy and we were asked to leave even though our bill would have been over $100 for the two of us. Obviously, women diners are not cost-effective to the owners of ESCA.