Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
Esca is a Southern Italian Seafood Restaurant created by Joseph Bastianich & David Pasternack. Esca showcases the style and sensibility of Italian coastal cooking. Dave went to Italy and 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 and delicious way. In Italy, that means the local catch. 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 and 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 and then a Mediterranean Branzino cooked in sea salt. Esca is the best of Italian coastal cooking with access to the world’s greatest fish.
New York, NY 10036
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Monday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 4:30pm to 10pm
Saturday: 4:30pm - 11:30pm
Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
$30 and under
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
Subway to 42nd Street - Times Square
Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wine
ESCA’s intimate and elegant dining room offers a lovely, quiet experience amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City’s Theatre District. All menus are based on fresh, seasonal ingredients (in other words, whatever Chef Dave Pasternack catches that morning).
Esca Ratings and Reviews
Risotto stuffed squid was quite tasty but squid was over cooked and tough. Fried seafood platter was very uninteresting: basically a plate of calamari without much taste and no sauce. Fish soups (starter and main) were tasty without being exceptional. Got stung for a $33 glass of Chardonnay. I know, I should have asked...
Overall, just meh for the price.
I went on Valentine's Day, the place was cozy. The staff was awesome, I personally think the best part of the restaurant was how the staff treats you. The only thing I think they could improve a little more is with the food because it tasted good but it didn't have a hook.
Fabulous evening. Valentine’s Day dining at Esca was sophisticated, relaxed and memorable. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and set the spirit of the day. Never felt rushed and everything was perfect - from the incredible whole wheat and Italian breads to the wonderfully prepared orata. Delicious oysters and the most magnificent chocolate dessert. Think we enjoyed ourselves? The adjectives speak for themselves. Highly recommended!
We travel on business every week, and dine out all the time, however, we were very disappointed in this dining experience. Nearly all of the staff, from the hostess to the sommelier were pretentious and short on attention. Despite a great table, in a quiet room next to the wine storage, we did not feel welcome -- and in fact, felt like we were a bother to the entire staff.
The waiter was okay, but never came back to check on us and his follow through with our comments about the food and service was much too casual. Management never stopped by our table to follow up.
The John Dory fish we had was briefly presented table side by a food runner, then whisked off to be prepared elsewhere. Upon return we immediately noticed it reeked of fish smell. However, because the staff simply dropped it off and ran away, we could not immediately respond. We ate a portion, but became concerned about it being bad. When my colleague complained to the waiter (after calling him over) the waiter acted very surprised, did not say a word, and took his plate away.
The food "runners" dropped off the food and ran off every time, with little or no communication at all. When I indicate "dropped off" I truly mean nearly dropping the plate in front of my colleague and handing me my plate over the table, in lieu of coming around the table and placing my plate in front of me. Quite a surprise for this level of a restaurant.
The sommelier also briefly presented the unopened wine bottle from across the table, then rushed off and opened it elsewhere. Upon return he had indicated that he seasoned the glasses after opening. As a wine enthusiast, while I understand some restaurants have different approaches, I would have expected him to communicate this beforehand. I would have much preferred that the wine was presented and opened with cork table side. Further, after he poured the two glasses, he again, ran off with the wine bottle. I had to ask one of the staff persons to have it returned to the table.
We tried the prix fix menu before going to a show. The menu was quite limited - the gnocchi was very good, bust the fried seafood was disappointing...could have gotten that level of seafood at a fast food place. We also had the wine parings...wine was good and the server knowledgeable. However, we had to order an extra serving of wine because the servings were so puny. Esca wasn't bad, but not sure it was good enough to go back...lots of other choices.
Our pre-theater dinner at Esca was very enjoyable. The food was delicious and the service was impeccable--attentive and refined, but not at all stuffy. My only complaint has to do with portion sizes. I certainly didn't leave the restaurant hungry, but I was struck by how generously sized some dishes were (e.g. the the fried seafood plate) and how small others were (the gnocchi, for instance). It almost felt like the Chef resented being asked to make anything on the menu that didn't have fish in it.
Went for Restaurant Week bargain. Spectacularly fresh and imaginatively prepared fish dishes raw and cooked. I had a grilled Branzino fillet, my daughter had fettuccine with Mussels. Its not Le Bernardin, but the three course lunch special plus a $50 bottle of wine came to $65 a person with 20% tip. A great deal.
Esca offers superb seafood, brilliantly cooked. Their Restaurant Week menu is a tremendous value, so many tempting dishes. We happily shared among we four and loved everything: the crudo (of course), grilled porgy, branzino, lemon cake with huckleberry (!) sorbet. Excellent wine pairings, terrific espresso, warm attentive service. A memorable meal.
The ceviche was one of the greatest dishes I have had in a while. The broth they created to allow the seafood to stew was tasty and had just the right amount of seasonings and acidity. The pasta dishes my date and I had were phenomenal. You could tell the pastas we’re freshly made. The gnocchi were light and fluffy and the best rendition of ricotta based gnocchi I have ever tasted. The waitress was very pleasant and asked at the beginning of the meal if there were any time restraints for our meal, which I found to be a nice touch since we had a 7pm show. I would definitely recommend Esca to anyone! Perfect pre-theatre and date spot!
We chose Esca for its close proximity to the theater district, as we were in NYC to see a show on a Saturday night. We had a 5:30 PM reservation for an 8 PM curtain and it was ample time. Our waiter asked us whether we had theater tickets as soon as we sat down, and made sure we had plenty of time to enjoy our meal and make our show. The wine selection was extensive and the sommelier helped us choose a delicious wine to accompany our meal. The service was impeccable - all the staff were extremely attentive to our table.
The bread was delicious. Our appetizer course was just okay. The tuna carpaccio was just average and the Salad Amari was too dry and not very tasty. But all that was forgotten once the entree arrived. We ordered the branzino for 2, and it was perfectly prepared (including being fileted to perfection after it was presented to us). The sides we ordered (beets, broccoli rabe and roasted potatoes) were also delicious. We finished our meal with 3 scoops of house-made gelatis (salted chocolate, olive oil, and cinnamon flavors) that were out of this world.
The atmosphere is very nice and we had no problem having conversation despite a very full house. My only suggestion is that this very nice restaurant could use a nicer bathroom - the unisex bathrooms, which each could only accommodate 1 guest at a time, required that yu wait in line practically in the kitchen with the servers waiting to pick up food. Hopefully there is some way to expand and work out a more guest-friendly arrangement.
All in all, this was a good choice for a great seafood meal before the theater.
Wine is richly priced. Appetizers are small and pricey. The octopus appetizer with beans has one tentacle and all the rest beans. Pretty to look at but not much substance. The Bronzino crusted in salt was excellent. But a 1 pound or less fish costing over $70 with nothing to garnish the plate or added as a side is lonely on a big white plate. We realized that the restaurant was filled with theater and tourist groups. The value is just not here for us local New Yorkers.
Esca is one of my favorite NYC restaurants. Always amazing food and service and surprises. It costs a fortune, but is worth it for special occasions. There actually are reasonably priced wines on the list and the sommelier didn't sneer at my choice. Did think the pasta with clams and white wine is TOO SALTY! The Crudo is astounding, always! We'll be back.
The crudo was phenomenal and service was impeccable. It was my 2 year anniversary with my girlfriend and we received complimentary desserts on the house after with chocolate piping “Happy Anniversary”. Little things like that go a long way. The only suggestion I have is to have the website menu updated to match the actual menu we received. We were really looking forward to ordering the Alba white truffle pasta but we didn’t find it on the actual menu. The salt baked bronzino looked and tasted great. The only suggestion is to do the deboning in front of the customers as the main sell on anything salt baked is the pleasure of watching someone chisel away at the crust and deboning it on front of your very eyes.
This was by far one of my worst dining experiences ever. I booked my reservation and confirmed it directly through the restaurant. When I arrived, they could not find my reservation, told me they were fully booked and that I should wait to see if they could help me. I explained I was dining with friends and was concerned we would not be seated. The manager was rude and when I told him I was going to post a poor review, he said he felt threatened and was going to have me escorted from the restaurant. I am an older woman and he is s young man. Of course he was not threatened; he was merely trying to be rid of the issue. I then went to the small, crowded bar to see what could be done, only to see the rest of my party fully seated. I never received an apology and I don’t think the manager is qualified to deal with people. I have never posted a review before, but the management at this restaurant was so poor, I felt obliged to post. Additionally, the food was mediocre to poor at best, the service was not the best and my table was pretty much on top of the adjoining diners. In retrospect, I would have been better off being thrown out of the restaurant because it failed my expectations in every way possible. I will never return to this place. Manhattan has too many well run restaurants with quality food that to subject oneself to this treatment is really unnecessary. Lesson learned.
I treated myself with this meal and was not disappointed. I especially enjoyed my waiter who was perfect- the kind of personal attention, light touch and efficiency that one would love to encounter every nite out. The food was fresh all fish, delicious sauces and yummy olive oil cake.
Everything was great, but my only suggestion would be to turn the music down and/or change the genre. I love the Rolling Stones, but it isn't music to eat by in this kind of place. I would suggest lower level and possibly classical or jazz. Italian opera would be perfect!
Please sign in to record your input. Thanks!
Report this review as inappropriate?
If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.