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  • Esca

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Esca Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://esca-nyc.com
  • Email: sdean@pastaresources.com
  • Phone: (212) 564-7272
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm; Dinner: Monday: 5:00pm - 10:30pm, Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:30pm, Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Seafood
  • Executive Chef: David Pasternack
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 9th Avenue
  • Public Transit: Subway to 42nd Street - Times Square
  • Parking: No
A word from Esca
Esca is a Southern Italian Seafood Restaurant created by Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich & David Pasternack. Esca showcases the style & sensibility of Italian coastal cooking. Dave went to Italy & saw firsthand what they were talking about. After years of cooking French food, Dave had finally found the food he had always wanted to cook. The best fish available, prepared in a simple & delicious way. In Italy that means the local catch, but in New York that means the best fish of the Pacific, Mediterranean & our own backyard.

At Esca you can eat the most sought after Pacific Ocean delicacies along side Fluke that Dave caught on his day off. The menu changes daily & is driven by the fish markets of the world & the farms of Dave’s friends. Esca is the place where you can have stunning raw fish, an incredible bowl of pasta & then a Mediterranean Branzino cooked in sea salt. Esca is the best of Italian coastal cooking with access to the world’s greatest fish.
Foodspotting photos
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Diner Reviews
  • "We had a lovely dinner at Esca. The food was amazing and the service was impeccable. The music playing took away from our overall experience. This is a restaurant that deserves a better soundtrack! the music did not fit the setting or the food and detracted from our enjoyment. 80's disco was blaring throughout our dinner on a Sunday evening. Given the high quality of the food, and the cost- the music was a very poor match from what would have been a perfect night. The bass was vibrating and very distracting. I strongly suggest re-evaluation of the role of music in the overall dining experience. "
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "I was really looking forward to returning to Esca. The service was top-notch from the moment we entered the restaurant. Our first course was delicious - a salad with arugula, ramps, and sheep ricotta cheese. However the swordfish advertised to be with capers and fennel was very disappointing. Though cooked as requested (medium) the cut was too thick and tasteless, and the bed of fennel tasted like it had been left over from the night before. I couldn't detect any capers at all. The bread pudding as well as the zabaglione with strawberries was delicious. "
    Dined on 4/16/2014
  • "Didn't realize the restaurant specialized in raw fish. We tried the ceviche and the burrata with anchovy sauce. Not quite my cup of tea but could tell it was great quality if you like that type of dish. Our salad and pasta entree, both vegetarian and not fishy, were delicious! Service and wine was excellent. A bit pricey but great for pre-theater dinner! "
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "Multiple times at ESCA ( we live down the same block). My wife's fish was excellent, as was the beets. My crispy fish was clearly overdone, I think the fry station was overworked or something, the place was busy. When i quietly told the waiter the problem I expected him yo do something -my error I should have spoken up more clearly and loudly. That said I am sure we will return but ESCA has dropped a bit in my personal ranking."
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "If you love seafood and Italian food then you will love this restaurant. The ambience is stylish but not "hip" and there is enough noise to feel lively but leave you able to have a conversation comfortably. The food was very tasty, but there is not much else on the menu besides seafood (and pasta, etc). The full bottle wine selection may be ok, but I struggled a little bit with their by the glass offerings. Still, it was pleasant that it is not overrun with the hordes from Times Square, even though it is still convenient to the show district. I would go there again, particularly for a delicious and relaxing pre-show dinner."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "The food was great. The service was attentive but not overbearing. Our waiter was helpful with the food and wine pairing, making suggestions but never "pushing" one selection over the other and was patient with the time we took to decide. In addition, he was extremely kind to my mother in law which was appreciated! ;) The only issue we had was the choice of music - a strange, eclectic (sort of) rock mix which created an unpleasant cacaphony at times. It wasn't completely overwhelmimg; but certainly a distraction. Overall, a great experience."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "The raw and main course fish dishes we chose were bland. The presentation was top notch."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "We had a great experience at Esca. The food was delicious. The environment was warm and inviting. The service was good. The staff was very accommodating and made sure we had enough time to get to our broadway show. I had the vongole forno for appetizer which I recommend. I had the fettuccini for my main dish. It was tasty but it was pricy for what you got. I would try something else if I ever go back."
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "GreayCrudo and fish. I book whenever I visit NYC. Our Sardinian waiter Roberto was fun."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Crudo to die for, salt baked and filleted whole fish.,,bitter salad to die for. Always marvelous, always a bit more expensive than we wish."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "There was a lot of depth to the menu--all seafood, including appetizers- some delicacies I've never seen before. Decided to be adventurous and tried the crudo of Maine sea urchins. Didn't know you eat sea urchins, but I will definitely have them again. Entrée was a lovely salt encrusted branzini that was to die for--so incredibly moist, extremely tender, delicately seasoned. Service was first rate without being smothering. Waiter was charming and described things on the menu that I was unfamiliar with so that I had a good idea of what I was ordering. Was going to a Broadway show and the wait staff was well aware of our deadline--we got to the show in plenty of time! Would so highly recommend Esca to anyone who loves seafood!"
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "The Tasting Crudite(6 raw fish appetizers) was scrumptious with unique, subtle flavors enhanced by the olive oil and pepper. Razzor and whole Sea Bass were awesome. White wines by the glass had unusual flavors. Best seafood I've had in the world including Japan! Not cheap but worth every penny! Waiter was attentive but not crowding."
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "Rated as one of the top Italian seafood restaurant, we had high hopes. Service and interias were good the food was not fresh and was very very disappointed. Especially, the sea urchin was triible. Even a Chinese run Sushi Bar would have better ones. It was a waste of time and money. Will not return."
    Dined on 1/8/2014
  • "It started with the seating on a make shift table in the middle of the room. It was then followed by mediocre service where I had to wait a long time for service, including my aperitif (never make a man wait for his aperitif), often had to ask for service from busers and always had to ask for our wine glasses to be refilled (if you can't keep up, leave the bottle on the table - no we were not drinking fast). Pasta was under cooked (al dente does not mean crunchy). Ambience was very nice and romantic, great wine list for those who favor wine over food - this is the perfect place. It didn't help that the table next to is was completely ignored - to the point that made us feel uncomfortable."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "The service here was excellent, the food, was not. I find it hard to believe that Mario Batali has anything to do with any of the food that comes out of this kitchen. It was sub-par at best. I was greatly disappointed as I took a small group here for a special occasion and all of us were disappointed with the food"
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "I'd heard great things bout Esca and decided to give it a try for a special occasion. Sadly, it fell far from expectations. It's a loud room, with what sounds like a 60's rock station blaring. The service is distant; not bad, but not overly engaged. I had one crudo, a Spanish mackerel, that was all texture (fresh, certainly) but very little taste. The octopus starter was nicely charred on the outside, but soft and flavorless on the inside. Grilled bream was fleshy, but also somewhat tasteless. The three stars of the evening, in order, were the glass of Barbaresco, a bit pricey at $20 per, but outstanding, Nantucket bay scallops were delicious, and charred salmon was excellent. All in all, a far cry from Marea, at about the same price."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "Esca is my favorite restaurant, I have never, ever been disappointed."
    Dined on 11/9/2013
  • "The menu is a bit intimidating, with several “interesting” items and/or combinations, but the food was excellent. A bit disappointed that even with a 7:30 PM reservation there were a couple of menu items that were unavailable. Staff is a bit too energetic in clearing the tables. If you want that last sip of wine the glass better be in your hand or it’s taken away. On our next trip to New York, this will be on the return list."
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "We have been to Esca several times and have always found it to be wonderful. This time, there was a slight problem with my order. It was very rapidly corrected and the waiter was so good to us that we forgot the issue before we left. Will definitely go back when we are in NY."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Been to Esca many times and each time enjoyed our meal. Service, ambiance and the food all are consistently delicious!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Had an early dinner before a concert last week. Our servers were knowledgeable, friendly, and sensitive to our time constraints. Loved that there were many unique dishes or unusual preparations, and thoroughly enjoyed every dish we tried. Wine selection was also excellent and paired very well with our dishes."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "The waiter mistakenly understood that I had ordered an appetizer for my main course, even though I clearly ordered an entrée and finished up with the appetizer order for the table. He did not bother to confirm his understanding that I had taken the unusual step of ordering a small appetizer as a main course. When the error was discovered and the correct order entered, I had to wait to get my entrée until 10 minutes after the others at the table had finished theirs. The mistake led to considerable stress and unpleasantness at our table. A memorably bad meal."
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "Waiter, Tony, didn't seem happy that we passed on ordering appetizer and salad. We weren't crazy hungry. Anyway he had an attitude after our order. Other staff very nice. Food was not anything special. For the price and bad waiter I wouldn't go back."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Let’s make this simple. The waiter did not know what spirits the bar had available for drinks. Strike 1 The appetizer of pan seared calamari was burnt. Strike 2. The fish my buddy ordered was served undercooked, read: raw. Strike 3. I understand sometimes the best laid plans and all, but it’s the waiter’s responsibility to make it right or bring over the manager, who will make it right. No apologies UNTIL I called for the manager. She was kind enough to pay for the dessert and coffee. Summation: When the name “Mario Battali” is attached you should get a first class dining experience. A message to all of you expanding restaurateurs, Your empire is only as strong as your weakest link. Hmm, I wonder what Danny Meyer is doing now?"
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "When you visit the theater, don't overlook this one. Competent, friendly service and good food."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "Restaurant was very busy on the night we went, having been recommended by friends in NY. Escada is an Italian Seafood restaurant, that has a very short menu following the European style of dining. My colleague found the menu challenging, a fish lover from New England, the standard dishes he was expecting from a seafood restaurant ie tuna or swordfish steaks were not on the menu. I would recommend the tasting menu, good value at $75, easy entry into multi course dining for anyone who has not eaten in Italy before. Service was a little brusque at times, the sommelier definitely tries too hard to steer you towards $200 a bottle wines. Highlight for me was the black spaghetti, so I will be going back for that."
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "Excellent restaurant!! Everytime I visit New York I eat here at least one night!"
    Dined on 3/17/2014
  • "Great food, beautiful presentation, attentive and not pushy service. Memorable 21st birthday celebration!"
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "This meal was really just meh... Seems like they are just milking the Mario name."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "We were disappointed with our overall experience. Header waiter was not very personable. Menu was a bit too ecclectic for us. Everything was just OK."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "In from Chicago made reservations 3 weeks ahead and was impressed with atmosphere, service and food. Outstanding selection of wine and food, with suggestions by wait staff. Highly recommend."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Really terrific Italian restaurant, heavily leaning towards seafood, with an interesting sushi menu. Outstanding service. Beware, however, it is VERY expensive, even by NYC standards, but well worth it."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "It's the second time we were kept waiting over 30 minutes. At least they should have offered a drink a dessert Something! The chk was split in one third and two thirds on two cards. It came back one card a third. The other the full amt. They corrected it but it should never have happened. Most people don't even chk. I always advise you look at bills. Too many mistakes whether intentional or or not Was disappointed in the lack of apology. Some people left. They shouldn't overbook like that. My friends now do not ever want to go back! Food was good but at that he waiting was not part of our plan."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "a pre-theater gastronomic catastrophe. Thick, unappetizing crudos (scorpionfish, ceviche with inedible conch and clam; black bass, in fairness, was good). Linguine and clams with so much brine one felt like one was swallowing ocean water. Companion's grilled octopus looked like a Jules Verne nightmare. Sorry, not a fun experience, and certainly not worthy of a Batali moniker."
    Dined on 3/12/2014
  • "My wife and I walked away very disappointed, and just thought that everything was just ok. The service was very disappointing, as we were constantly being told that this was one of the top seafood restaurants in the country and we were belittled when we asked questions about how things were prepared. The food was just ok. We ordered Linguine to share for the first course, and it was very good. My wife had the Branzino and I Red Snapper. It was ok, but we have had better and many other restaurants. We ordered a side of Broccoli Rabe with our main course, which may have been the worst thing I have ever had to eat. I couldn't tell if it was pickled or just poorly cooked. Dessert was good. Overall, it was disappointing and just ok."
    Dined on 2/23/2014
  • "Let me start by saying the food was incredible and worth the expensive price point. This review is about my experience with the service I received. Again, the food was amazing. When we were seated at 5:45, our waiter asked us if there was a show we were going to and when we needed to be out by. We said yes, we needed to leave by 7pm. Then we were ignored, left alone for long periods of time unable to flag down our waiter. (Note that that other staff was very attentive, just not our waiter) The couple next to us who arrived after received their food before us. When we managed to track down our waiter, he told us ours was "next out!" and then we saw him bring 2 more tables their food. Very disappointing service by an expensive restaurant."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Definitely not for my taste, but might be OK for those that enjoy Mediterranean seafood more than me ......"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "This gem close to the theatre district is an Italian fish lover's dream. From the sparkling fresh crudo, to the inventive pastas and the fresh off the boat fish, the quality of Chef Pasternak's food is superb. Added to that are the always professional staff and the treasure trove of fine Italian wines."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Because the restaurant week menu was only $25, the fish main course was not great. The butterfish are small and very thin and very mild tasting so it was difficult to prepare so many servings and keep them from being a bit dry and not very tasty. The first course of crudo was delicious. We needed to order a vegetable side dish in order to have enough food to satisfy the hunger level. The pana cotta dessert was perfect and delicious"
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "The food was really delicious, the portions were a good size for lunch and it felt festive and fun to be there! Thanks Esca! I had the grilled calamari appetizer; it was tender and flavorful. My main dish was pasta shells with seafood - another perfectly seasoned dish with slightly al dente pasta - yum! Dessert was light and airy lemon panna cota. I'm not too fussy about service and the waiter was genial - our appetizers were reversed which is a little unusual for a fancy restaurant - so this may be not be the place for people who look for perfect service."
    Dined on 3/7/2014