402 W. 43rd St., New York, NY, 10036
at Ninth Ave.
By sahw on 2/6/2003
I am changing my review, which I had originally given an 8 to a 1. The service and food were awful. Ordered bottle of wine was given to another customer, which ensued in a bit of a confrontation. My husband ordered a dish with Bluefish, which emitted such a fowl odor, that it ruined both of our meals. Our server didn't have a clue all night, nor did the manager. I have never seen a restaurant go downhill so fast. A waste of money and time.
By bkln417 on 8/22/2015
Arrived close to 10pm on a weeknight. Noticed 3 empty tables outside, and asked for outdoor seating (The entry of the restaurant by the way feels like a service station- cramped, staff bustling around with trays and you feel like you are in the way rather than welcomed and relaxed). We were quoted a 10-min wait. Oh well, we sat inside. Our server presented drink menus, no food menus. We would have preferred to view the menu immediately. She came back to take our drink order, still no food menus. We ordered the custom sodas which were tasteless - nothing close to the sodas at Perry Street or Untitled. We were told some of the pastas were large enough for two. Since it was late and we weren't enjoying our experience, we decided to order a pasta and share it, so that we could get out of there sooner. Our server then informed us of the minimum order policy. One appetizer and one entree per person. So tacky. I've never felt so unwelcome in a restaurant. We refused to order more, and our server put in the order for the pasta. When the dish arrived, the noodles were not fully cooked. Not al dente. UNDERCOOKED. By this time we were hungry and ready to leave so we ate it anyway. We eat out 2-3 times a week all over town, and I have to say this is the worst restaurant experience we've had in years. They need a total overhaul in management and to go back to the basics of how to treat guests. Incredible the difference between Del Posto and Esca, it's night and day! Go there instead.
By lucyppppppp on 5/7/2012
Went to this restaurant as our friends booked it on May 4 2012. First worrying signs: It is off Times Square (where I would never eat), it is in the bottom of an ugly apartment block, and they play motown classics very loudly so it's like being in Hard Rock Cafe. Our server was a perfectly nice girl however it's exactly like being at TGI Fridays or similar, with endlessly cheerful explanation of the menu, and constant interruptions to ask what your favourite thing is that you've eaten so far. The tasting menu (our friends made us eat it) is possibly the worst food I have ever eaten in NY. Veering from impossibly bland (the 'sashimi', the 'blowfish tails') to completely disgusting and inedible (the pasta, the desserts). I complained vehemently to the manager, who looked surprised but was completely ineffectual. Nothing was taken off our bill. I am writing to Mario Batali's 'people' as I was so disgusted. I seriously doubt anything will happen, but I would think seriously and hard about booking here. Then go anywhere else.
By o2bme on 10/2/2011
This was my first time at one of Batali's restaurants and I was really looking forward to a good experience. There was nothing good about the experience other than getting out of there. The food was TERRIBLE!!! The Cavatelli pasta with MA Bay scallops had 2 tiny scallops and the pasta was not al dente, it was not cooked and the chef dumped salt into the dish. The salad was bland and seemed like some greens were taken out of a bag, the cold seafood sampler fish did not seem fresh and was tasteless. The striped bass was easy but the side of mushrooms and some other vegetable was so salty it could not be eaten. On top of this - the waiter offered us still water and pureed it from a bottle, using about 1/2 the bottle. He later came back and said would you like more water even though our glasses still had some water. He came back with a full carafe type bottle and filled our glasses after we had finished our meals. When the check came - they tried to charge us $6 each for two bottle of water. Never, ever again will I go to Esca and will go out of my way to tell people to steer clear unless you want to pay $140 for food that is barely edible. What a shame and a sham.
By Carl12 on 12/2/2011
I dont recoment this place at all, i had a reservation at 8 for 2 and I got sit 45 min later , + the place looks dirty and messy, bread was cold and wine was hot....it was a wasted of money I'm not going back to this place !!!!!!!!!!
By Carl12 on 12/2/2011
Not going back and if u want to come and eat here I would think twice ..this place is awful ......
By MrCalabash on 3/12/2012
I am so utterly disappointed in Esca, not due to the food but the manager or whoever it was that addressed my friends and I. This guy was so condescending and the worst thing you can be is that, especially to a paying customer. After reading great and not so great comments I decided to have a dinner meeting with two friends at Esca. Got there early and was so impressed by the early seating. When my first party arrived we decided to order only to be told there is a minimum order (YES, a minimum). Don't plan on eating there if you want to have a light meal. Nevertheless we asked for one of the appetizers to be doubled but was misunderstood by the waitress who then proceeded to call the manager (for what - IDK). The manager came over and started to speak very condescendingly to my friend and I telling us if we can't afford to meet the minimum there are other paces we can go to. Note: at no time did we ever say we didn't want to or couldn't order the minimum. I have never felt so horrible in a restaurant. Mario Batali needs to train his people in communications.
By forhak on 6/29/2013
We had high expectations and ordered the tasting menu incl wine. We were very disappointed as neither the food; the wine or the service was what you can expect of a high class restaurant. Some of the dishes didnâ€™t taste anything and some tasted awful. The waiter was not interested if we liked the food or not.
By zeecee on 3/16/2003
Three of us started off with delicious drinks (mine a blood orange cosmo), moved on to sharing a miniscule mackeral appetizer that said nothing, salad was okay, main courses were disappointing as the sea bass was tasteless, the fish stew just okay, the fritto misto overly salted (as was most everything) and the sauce bland. Country bread & foccaccio choices were both dry and bland, served without olive oil or butter.</br> Service was unpleasant, both in attitude and actuality. Plates were removed before we were done. It was difficult to understand the waiter and he was cold and offputting.</br> </br> Others who've been recently told us afterwards they'd had or heard of bad experiences at Esca recently. It was filled, seemingly mostly with tourists.</br> Ceilings are low and there's nothing warm or intriguing about the decor or feel of the place. This is not worthy of Batali...or of what it cost us.
By marilynringwood on 5/29/2012
We were so excited to actually get a table on short notice this past weekend (Memorial Day). We were seated in the garden and then promptly forgotten! It took at least 20 minutes to get someone over to the table to take a drink order and then another 30 minutes before our dinner orders were taken! The waiter was condescending, and told us we MUST order at least two appetizers or an entree per person in order to be served. It was restaurant policy he stated. We should have walked out at that point but didn't. Our food choices were as mediocre as the service. We ordered the stuffed clams appetizer - mostly breadcrumbs; the arugula salad with white asparagus and fava beans - overdressed; ricotta gnocchi - cut into cubes not the usual shape - too soft consistency and too few on the plate for 27.00; and lobster pasta - pasta did not taste like it was made inhouse. I have eaten in many restaurants in piazzas throughout Italy. I was expecting this experience to be as wonderful as those were. It was not. The place is over-hyped. We will never return.