402 W. 43rd St., New York, NY, 10036
at Ninth Ave.
By Newgothic on 3/28/2012
A friend invited me there for my birthday. I did some research before I went and found the reviews were 50-50. Either people loved it or hated it. There was no middle ground. Because of this, I was a little apprehensive but I went. My experience ended up being charming and delightful. The food and service was fantastic. We ordered the Baked Clams for an appetizer and they were excellent and then ordered the Salmone Selvaggio for me, and the Spaghetti Neri for my friend. Both dishes were magnificent. We topped off the meal by sharing the Budino Di Banana dessert. I so canâ€™t wait to go back!
By trucks on 2/5/2008
This is a world classg restaurant. We were a party of 4 that ordered the 7 course Tasting Menu. Portions were small but by the time we walked out we were stuffed. Wife could not finish what we were served. Pricy at $250 a couple including tax, tip and wine but worth it for an occassion. Best grilled fish I have ever had. If you go insist on Bert as your waiter. He was fantantic.
By dressage on 1/16/2005
Hit a message loop and unable to confirm our reservation, so we lost our table. Jack was great and after a 20 minute wait we were seated. Assorted sushi appetizer was amazing and breen and porgie whole fish tasty and complimentary. Great "1/4 liter" wine. Decent dessert. Too noisy for business. Will be back and soon!
By knisar on 10/6/2003
Of all the places that I have enjoyed Italian seafood I must say that Esca is the best. There food is extremely flavorful and the flavors blend perfectly with the fish or shellfish that it has been paired with. Portions are filling but do not require a doggy bag. I strongly recommend their soups and the Spaghetti with mint, chile, and lobster. For the quality of food it is not too steeply priced.
By RMK on 5/1/2003
Not only does David Pasternack's Esca have the BEST seafood in town, it is a top five restaurant in all of New York. The daily special offerings are so fresh and wonderful, you wish they could be on the menu all of the time until your next visit when new surprises delight you.
By AllTrue on 4/3/2003
The crudo appetizer (various types of raw seafood) sampler was unbelievable--six separate "courses"--all EXQUISITELY presented and flavored ending with a rare taste of sea urchin. Reservations are essential indoors or out but you can almost always get an early seat at the unique ice-filled raw bar where the greatest bartender dispenses volumes of knowledgable friendly chatter and perfectly matched wines as well as oysters. Be prepared: only two non-seafood items on the menu. Don't pass up the desserts! One sour note: the sommelier suggested our $100 bottle of wine and then opened it and served the first taste to someone he knew seated next to us. Both the food and atmosphere were so good, we soon got over it.
By czierer on 1/24/2003
I had no idea what to expect from Italian seafood, but my lunch at Esca ranks as one of the best ever. I ordered the crudo appetizer on the server's recommendation, not recognizing the names of any of the raw fish samplings it included. I was rewarded with 6 varieties of the most flavorful, perfectly marinated nuggets, each better than the last, arranged on the plate from mildest in flavor to strongest. Our young server definitely knew his stuff, and he paired the perfect Italian wines with each course for my husband and I, taking the time to explain each dish and wine he served us. For the main course I had a pasta dish, Paccheri, flavored with the perfect amount of anchovy in a light, intensely-flavored tomato-based sauce. My husband ordered a whole fish called Orata- another species we'd never heard of- again on the advice of our server. It turned out to be the best fish he's ever had anywhere- light, delicate, the sauce infused with rosemary and olive oil. It truly was a perfect meal. The ambience was warm and lively, very much a neighborhood place if you're lucky enough to live near it.
By scottpsolomon on 7/18/2010
Esca is a very great restaurant because the chef/owner David Pasternack is really super-talented and almost always in the kitchen. I've probably eaten here over 250 times in the last 7 years or so. The manager, Marina Goerner, is my favorite restaurant manager in NYC, and ALWAYS ask her what to order on any given visit because she has impeccable taste and will tell you if something is in that day that is really over-the-top outstanding. Favorite dishes for me are Yukon and Copper River salmon with figs during salmon season, Portuguese branzino crudo, shrimp crudo with their roe (when in season), grilled soft-shell crabs with sorrel, buratta cheese with spoonbil caviar, and many many more.
By LizNY on 7/18/2010
Dave Pasternack's passion for seafood shines through simple, yet elegant dish preparation at Esca. The crudo tasting is always delicious...would like a few gallons of whatever olive oils they use for my own kitchen. Favorite dishes: red ruby shrimp (when in season), crudo tasting, burrata cheese with caviar. Not as big a fan of the entrees, actually. Contrary to other reviews, service has always been excellent when I've dined at Esca, and if you go for a drink at the bar, you will meet an endearing bartender and usually an eclectic new friend or two.
By daniel718 on 10/1/2008
Took my mom to esca for her birthday. Started out with the Crudo Tasting which was amazing. The standouts were the geoduck (loved the marinated chiles) and the prawns (so sweet, and together with the sunflower oil was perfect). Shared the sea urchin and crabmeat spagetti. great flavors, kinda wished the dish was a bit warmer than it was (could have been the a/c). Also shared the branzino which again was cooked perfectly and tasted great. The cauliflower stewed with tomatoes and haricots verts with pine nuts as sides were ok. For 2 people I was really full. Our waiter was attentive and very friendly and patient. The only thing was it was really loud in there, my mom was basically screaming at me the whole night. Had 2 glasses of wine each and the pudding dessert (skip dessert, go to kyotofu or something instead) and it cost $300 including tip. A great meal, altogether. I would definately go back!