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Posted by Anonymous on 08/16/2007
I had some of the best food I have ever eaten in NYC at Esca. The tuna carpaccio was amazing and so, so fresh. The heirloom tomato salad was bursting with color and flavor. The pasta was cooked to absolute al dente perfection. The bus boys were great and majorly attentive, constantly cleaning every crumb that fell on the table and changing all of the silverwear and side dishes with each course that came out. Unfortunately the waiters were pretentious and rude and ours completely ruined my evening by talking down to me. When I ask for parmesan cheese on my pasta, I expect it to be given to me. I don't expect to be condescendingly told that it's a "major taboo" to ask for shredded cheese on pasta. (As if I asked for ketchup on it or something!) I did notice after that there were no salt and pepper shakers on the table either. That would probably be a taboo as well. I do get the concept of enjoying a meal the way a chef intended it to be prepared but I don't appreciate being rudely denied something by a server when I am paying that much for a meal. Then he did not bring me the muscat I ordered with my dessert. That must have been taboo as well even though they were paired together on the menu. So unfortunately, I can never go back no matter how fresh the fish is.
Posted by Anonymous on 07/26/2007
Arrived 30 min. late for our reservation and were still seated right away in the garden. We had the tasting crudo which the chef picks and all were great, but just a touch too salty. We then had the tuna ravioli as a second dish. Main course was the Branzino for 2 which was baked in salt and drizzled with olive oil just like being in Italy and sides of a mixture of sauteed vegetables and potato. Wine completed this great meal. There is so much on the menu to try that I will have to go back several times to taste it all.
Posted by NYU Law on 07/22/2007
My boyfriend and I went here for lunch during restaurant week on Friday. We had the crudo and white anchovy (alici) appetizers, the capelini pasta with pesto, squash and mussels, and the seared striped bass. Then we had the dessert, which was something like a very light cream puff with a crunchy exterior and fresh fruit. Everything was fantastic - especially the crudo. The crudo of the day was seared bluefin tuna with fennel pollen and sea salt. It was the best seared tuna I have had in a long time and trust me, I have had a lot. I was a little nervous because of the negative reviews I read on menupages and citysearch, but I would say that Esca meets all of the high standards of any Batali in NYC.
Posted by magalatta on 06/23/2007
Our experience started off with kindness at the hostess stand but ended when we sat down at our table. Surly waiter that treated our order as if it was taudry. Good food but small portions. Waiter accidentally knocked a full waterglass from my friends hand and didn't bother to apologize. Wait staff let us clean up the glass while the stood and watched offering napkins once we were done. My friends joked at possible compensation, a simple apology would have been nice. Bill was higher than expected as even simple diner salads were $11 a la carte to a small portion of fish.
Posted by Anonymous on 06/21/2007
NY Times gave them 3 stars for 2007. It was long overdue. David Pasternak is the man when it comes to Italian Seafood in NYC. Personal best: crudo tasting, macheroni alla chitarra (with crab and sea urchin), sea bass in seasalt crust.
Posted by Upper Eazy Foodie on 05/28/2007
with wine pairings is amazing (make sure to add the extra crudo tasting for an additional $15) the crudo course is paired with a really good proseco and each course is a new gem. They're also extremely friendly and topped off my glass of wine when it was almost done because they said they didn't want my girlfriend "to have to drink alone." It's a ton of food and about 7-8 glasses of wine so come full and prepare to leave drunk! Not as good as Babbo or Lupa but very good and different from the normal Batali fare as well.
Posted by FooDee on 05/25/2007
This was one of the most disappointing meals I've had. Granted, my expectations were high, given Batali-Bastianich as propriators, and Pasternack at the helm (although he was NOT in the kitchen that night, but at such an establishment, this should not make a difference). The couple to our side were of the identical sentiments. Obviously, an "OFF" night, but regardless, highly disappointing. Our apps were half-and-half: his halibut belly was delicious, although nothing to look at on the plate. The hand-harvested wild mushroom salad inplied to me a variety of selected fungii, but instead three, unassuming baby portabellas arrived on a bed of arugula, doused with olive oil and salt, but otherwise untreated. They were just fine, I suppose, but underwhelming. Entrees held the line of the salad... his mahi mahi was flavorless but for the gassy, burn flavor of the char-marks. Underneath were four woody and tough sprigs of asparagus in a pool of oil. My scallops were good enough, but the favas below lacked the stated arugla , and were just basically scallops and beans. Underseasoned, a little oily. We chose three contorni: overcooked, overgreased adn underseasoned button mushrooms, overboiled pasty flavored collard greens reminiscent of The Cracker Barrel, and then, the most delicious element of the meal, a nicely kicky baby broccoli saute. Everything was completely edible; everything was completely forgettable. The dessert was lovely, however, in stark contrast.. a free-form rhubarb tart in a flaky, buttery pastry crust. I would say "but how can you screw up rhubarb?", but then I might ask the same of all the other components of the meal, which they were able to do, with aplomb.