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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.
Posted by Minkovich on 05/04/2007
Swordfish was $34 and mackerel was $31, for a piece of fish with no side dishes. With vegetables or other side dishes the price would have totalled $40 or $50, which brings it into the level of the best restaurants in town. At this level one would expect either ample portions or unusually good food. The dishes were not special in any way except in being astonishingly small portions. When I mentioned this to the server, he went to the chef and returned with the message that we were free to order and pay $31 and $34 for second portions. We finished in ten minutes, paid the bill, tipped properly, and went down the street to eat dinner.
Posted by CuisineCrazy on 05/02/2007
I made a reservation for pre-theater. About a week and a half later, the restaurant received a high rating in the Times, so I was expecting gastronomic bliss. One dish out of the 5 we ordered was wonderful. The rest were either forgettable or just passable. We even had to send back an order of escarole, a side dish, because it was overcooked so much it was practically grey, The staff was warm and wonderful- the food just didn't match the great service and the hype. We won't return.