402 W 43rd St, New York, NY | Directions 1003640.759197 -73.992634
Mon noon-2:30 pm, 5-10:30 pm, Tues-Sat noon-2:30 pm, 5-11:30 pm, Sun 4:30-10:30 pm
Neighborhoods: Clinton, Midtown
There are basically three great seafood restaurants in New York: Marea, Le Bernardin, and Esca, and the latter is by far the most comfortable and casual of the three -- not to mention the cheapest. Chef David Pasternack's relationship with local fishermen is legendary, and he has mastered the art of getting out of the way. There is no simpler, or better, seafood anywhere.
One of the best places I have been. The food was great and so were the people.
This is a pretty good place to go for sea food. The place was decorated nicely and the staff was very polite and well mannered.
Gross and way overpriced – The 4 of us left hungry and disappointed. The only thing satisfying were the cocktails. Do not go.
Boycott Mario Batali Restaurants – Mario Batali's recent comment comparing bankers to Hitler and Stalin are downright disgusting and irresponsible (reference at bottom of review). While there are many views on bankers during these challenging times, his references to such dictators who executed many people for their religion and / or beliefs is hurtful and ignorant. I do not believe it is in this world's best interest to support him or his restaurants given his most recent comments.
google or search for the following article as a reference: "mario-batali-apologizes-for-comments-comparing-bankers-to-hitler-stalin"
Batali's comments are hurtful and insensitive – I can't believe Batali is comparing bankers to Hitler and Stalin. Agree with the previous post that it is completely insensitive. Why can't he just stick to making food? I can only assume that if he is busy attending conferences and media events offering his political views he is definitely not paying attention to his businesses and the quality of his food. Given this, and the insensitivity he recently displayed in comparing bankers to Hitler, I will no longer eat at his restaurants and will encourage others to do the same.
Good for foodies but lacking in ambience – The food is the standout piece to Esca. I thoroughly enjoyed the squid ink pasta, marinated sardines and fish stew (the crudo tasting was a little bland though). The service was good, with water and wine glasses being refilled and new utensils being laid out in a timely manner.
The main drawback is the actual space itself. When you walk in, you are liable to think you walked in through the wrong entrance. It feels like a back entrance as you immediately face a large table where servers are cracking pepper and preparing plates. The hostess stand is tucked a little bit to the right and the two hostesses on Wednesday night were inattentive to the point where I thought they might just be waiting for a table too and didn't work at the restaurant at all.
The bar at Esca seats maybe five stools and the servers rush between the seated patrons and those standing by the wall to get from the kitchen to get to the main dining room, shouting out
Stay Clear- Bad Shrimp - it made me sick : ( – Menu is excellent but unfortunately I ordered the wrong dish. Don't order the Fritto Misto it has bad shrimp, they smelled like Amonia...they told me the shrimp has iodine. I felt sick and threw up. Manager was unsympathetic and unwilling to look into it. Service is excellent, decor is warm. I don't want other people to get sick so stay clear of their shrimp it's not worth the unpleasant experience !! : But someone should really look into it !!
Wonderful experience – A friend and I went to ESCA (without reservations) and sat at the bar where we were greeted by an amiable tender named Victor who promptly presented us with a wonderful and complementary white bean bruschetta. My friend and I shared the tuna carpaccio (which was delicious) and I ordered the gnocchi ricotta while she got the lobster spaghetti. The menu said it was a one-pounder but it looked kind of small to me. I ordered the gnocchi because I saw it on one of the Food Network shows and I was not at all disappointed.
Our evening was topped off by a visit from the chef who shared stories of his growing up in New York as well as other fun stories of this wonderful city. We had a great time, good food and great company. I would definitely recommend ESCA for anyone wanting an enjoyable experience.
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