Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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.
New York, NY 10036
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Monday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday: 4:30pm - 11:00pm
Wednesday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 11:30pm
Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:30pm
$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
Our waiter and maitre' d were both excellent - warm and professional as well as the server. The setting is warm and upscale cozy. The problem is the way overpricing and some of our food items. The capellini with rock shrimp was perfectly cooked and the pasta with lobster tasty and also perfectly prepared. The $35 Zuppa de Pesce was so bad we had to send it back. (our waiter was gracious about the return and quick to offer us a replacement.) The mussels were rubbery and the fish itself looked like leftover scraps from other meals. Hardly anything but the briney awful tasting broth. It wasn't bad - it was surprisingly bad. The waiter had told us (warned us) that the soup was "oceanic" but we didn't expect that to mean it was the bottom of the ocean. One of our party ordered the pricey gnocchi and although the ingredients on the menu sounded delicious - it was mushy and bland. You know something isn't good when the portion isn't big and there are still leftovers. Perhaps the prix fixe meals are the way to go...$85 per person without wine...$145 with...but any way you add it up, Esca is way overpriced without anything rating that: This was worth it! - feeling.
Food was disappointing given its ratings: the Spaghetti Neri had too much chili, blanketing the delicate flavor of the sepia, the branzino was very good but the broccoli side dish turned out to be an unidentifiable green mass (spinach or kelp) drowned in salt. Very good winelist!
Worst were two tables that confused this restaurant with a rowdy sportsbar with no attempt made by the manager that their behavior spoilt all other diners‘ experience.
Terrible disappointment. We ate here a year ago and loved it. This year they put us in a little table between the bar and the kitchen. Table was clearly an afterthought. Food was fine but it is impossible to enjoy with waiters running by from the kitchen. Then there was a crowd of people yelling behind out table who were drinking at the bar. Experience was miserable. We just will not bother to go back. Too bad
I had not dined at Esca in quite a while and was anxious to return. We had our reservation for early evening pre-theater. The food was excellent. The wine list was okay. We shared a salad and then my companion had very tasty salmon and I greatly enjoyed the pumpkin ravioli. However, the noise level was nearly deafening. Everyone in our vicinity was shouting during their meals to be heard across the table. It was a cacophony and the opposite of a relaxing meal. Energetic does not begin to describe the noise level. When we complained we were told to ask for another room next time and they were pretty snotty about it. I, unfortunately, would not trust them on this and will not return.
The food is good in general but the service is terrible. The ravioli came out burnt black with crispy edges so we had to send it back. The hostess was rude, the server did not bring us food menus for 10 minutes even after telling him that we had a Broadway show to attend in an hour. They sat us at a table next to a large plant that was shedding leaves on the table and on to our plates of food. When I showed one of the managers that the plant was shedding leaves on to our plates, he said “oh no”’and walked away without doing anything.
Except for the music, which just adds to the noise, ESCA is one of my favorites. Great food, nice ambiance, close to the theater, Nico the Maitre D is great. Not sure why they have music on. Adds nothing to the dinner but noise on top of noise. Love this place
Arrived at 7:15 with a party of three people. Didn’t get served our appetizers until 8:30 and main course until 9:15. Fish dish was extremely oversalted and had an extremely fishy odor and flavor. Didn’t appear to be fresh. Returned that for another main dish. It had the same exact problem.
Very good quality food and broad wine list . We were given a table near the kitchens on our own despite several empty tables in the main area.The blasting Air conditioning made our red wine turn cold despite asking to turn it off twice, it was switched back on on both occasions. Waiters brought us the cheque without us asking for it and while having coffee. Almost total lack of attention from the waiting staff.
The food here was DISGUSTING. I ordered the zuppe di pesce and it smelled like sewage. It also tasted similarly. I went home and had major stomach pains and felt ill. I wouldn’t go back here if someone paid me to. The people next to us also ordered this dish and were grossed out. My fault for not sending it back but I was too hungry. This is was SO BAD.
Our waitperson Samuel greeted us in an appropriate amount of time and we established a leave time based on needing to attend the theatre.
We then waited 30 mins before an initial drink order was taken, and that was by a replacement waitperson, Aly.
After that, service was sporadic at best.
However it should be noted the buspersons were exceptional.
Even though an established leave time was determined, when Samuel finally returned with dessert menus, (Samuel explained he had a large table that took all his time) we were not able to enjoy dessert because of the time based on inconsistent waitering.
While we enjoyed the food, the poor wait service colored the whole dining experience.
Delicious food, great service, and awesome location. Out of the four of us my mom was the only one that didn’t love her meal. She’d ordered the halibut and said it seemed a little over cooked and was lacking some flavor. The rest of us loved it and she enjoyed the appetizer of oysters and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.
Probably great food, but we never ate. Made a reservation for two. Told at the door that this was a “waiting game” and to wait at the bar. The bar was unreachable. We danced around waiters for about 30 mins. Was never offered a time guesstimate. When we decided to leave because we were too hungry to wait, we spent 5 mins trying to tell the hostess we weren’t going to stick around, but she was too busy dealing with coats. I imagine the food is great which is why it’s so popular, but I wouldn’t bother or recommend it. I only reviewed the food/value bc Open Table requires it.
We were excited to have a reservation at ESCA . We were disappointed. We were seated right away. The menu was new to us and we asked for some explaining and we received it. Waiter was not very helpful. We ordered. Salad came and it was very good and fresh. Main dished arrived, very disappointed. We had 1 glass of wine each and gelato for dessert.. I asked for grated cheese and he brought it, added to my pasta dish and left, did not ask my wife is she would like some (she did) but he had left the area. Did not return to ask how our dinner was. Bread was excellent, but we had no olive oil or butter and were not offered a second piece. We had no coffee or after dinner drinks and our bill was $185.00 without the tip.
This has been one of my favorite nyc restaurants but this visit was mixed to disappointing. My husband had the squid ink pasta with chilies and loved it. My friend and I shared the roasted razor and other clams Some were very tough and flavors were muddy. I had the spaghetti chiatarra w/ crab and sea urchin. Pasta too thick for this and flavor was lacking. Not enough urchin? Desserts also disappointing. Very sad. This had always been one of our favorite restaurants.
Chef was so personable and friendly. He sent a few complimentary dishes that we devoured. We loved all the entree’s. Remember the golden rule- don’t eat all the bread before the food comes - which was kind of hard to do with their newly imported truffle infused olive oil from Umbria. Black ink pasta, Uni, monkfish liver, and oysters were amazing not to mention the Somelier’s recommended red blend (not necessarily pared. Enjoy. It was a little warm under the booth we stayed but the attention to detail in service and attention by our server and his support staff was amazing.
I really enjoy Chef Batali's other restaurants but for whatever reason it was an off night. The scallops were under seasoned, the salmon under cooked to our order and the linguine so salty it was inedible. The service was great as was the wine and cocktail selection. I'm sure it is a great restaurant normally but for the over $200 price tag it was not worth it.
It was a chilly damp evening and we wanted a warm cozy dinner. Esca was a great choice; warm, cozy and full. Unfortunately, that is where the positive experience ended. The food - tasted of oil and wasn't seasoned. The service- our waiter dropped off our food and never returned, nor did any other server -ever! The manager-was completely indifferent to our neglect, he made no effort to correct the situation, his attitude made it worse. The waiter had gone home mid-shift, that happens, the manager was rude and that is inexcusable.
Our food was at best forgettable but it would be more accurate to say it was bad. I had tasteless sea bass that seemed frozen. My wife had gnocchi that was not flavorful and had 4 scallops that were at best a C+. We had three side vegetables - greens that were disgusting, parsnips that were limp and poorly roasted, and mushrooms that were pretty good but nothing special. The sommelier had a big slice of attitude that would likely be effective in bullying an unconfident diner into spending more than they would like to. We did have a terrific waiter with lovely old school manners. Unfortunately, even the cookies that came with the bill were poorly done. A snickers bar purchased at the closet magazine stand would have been better.
Service was uninspired from arrival to leaving. Table not ready for 8 oclock reservation. We were told to wait in bar which was small and cramped and full. We were in the way of serving staff making their way from kitchem. Finally seated at table at top of kitchen stairs within earshot of squabbling seving staff. We were a table of six for daughter’s birthday. We ordered oysters, apps, and secondis with cocktails, 2 bottles of wine , desserts, and dessert drinks. Food was uneven. Oysters never came, fish was either under or over cooked. Gnocchi was the only dish that was anything to write home about. Waiter attempted to serve the oysters after dinner???? We refused them. Sommelier was up to the task, but the rest of the service was not adequate. Reception and coat check need lessons in customer service. There was no acknowledgement of a birthday celebration when dessert arrived. A candle or a sqiggled happy birthday would have been appreciated. This was definitely a “fail”. Lots of great restaurants in NYC. ESCA not among them.
Food was extremely disappointing. Calamari extraordinarily bitter. Clams and mussels full of sand and grit. For a supposed seafood restaurant, kitchen seemed quite amateur. Good service. Overall a place that seems content to run on autopilot and get by on business lunches and the Broadway crowd.
I had made this reservation for my mom and myself as a pre-theater dinner and had noted this in my reservation. I was under the assumption that the theater menu would be offered to us, but instead had to ask specifically for it. Not a big deal, but I think that should be provided if theater reservations are being made.
Food - first courses were delicious - octopus (me), salad (mom; second course was very underwhelming for me. I ordered the grilled mahi mahi and it was nothing to write home about, just very boring and kind of bland. My mom did enjoy the gnocchi very much and said it was the best she's had. Dessert was also tasty.
Service - in between the first and second courses a server came to clear glasses/refill drinks. I had asked for the wine menu as I wanted to select something to go with my meal. At no point did any one return to take my wine order, it wasn't until the last two bites that someone bothered to come by and ask if I would like to order anything. At that point in the meal it doesn't make sense to place a wine order. It also took forever in between the main and dessert courses.
Overall, I think our experience could have been better and was disappointing.
Another quick meal before the theater. I love Esca, hadn't been in a couple of years. So Thursday night worked well. Nice staff, pleasant servers and a fabulous pasta with lobster. One of the best meals ever. Nice salad, too.
Only minor quibble is that the music was too loud.
The service was incredible! The food was a HUGE disapointment. The apps were fair. Cerviche was good, my salad had a dressing that was so salty it was almost inedible and didn't compliment the fall roasted vegtables at all. My husbands scallop entree was good, not great and my grouper entree was fair (fish was tough and flavorless, I asked for lemon) but the roasted brussel sporouts with pancetta were totally overcooked and dry. We shared a dessert which was fair. We will not return and couldn't in good conscious recommend to a friend. Very disapointing .. a shame as we were really looking forward to a nice anniversary dinner.
This was my second time eating here.
Once again I enjoyed it. The food is good, the servers are polite and professional. It isn’t noisy, so you can have good conversation, and they have a nice selection of wine. It’s not my choice for a casual dinner or lunch, it’s more suitable for an occasion
The room is busy and full of people enjoying their food with easy conversations. The tables are just the right size for conversation, even in the bustling atmosphere. The food was excellent, careful, delicious and fulfilling. The staff was great, each and every one. It was a personal and friendly service of well-prepared food & drink in a comfortably bustling room. Generous in every way, and highly recommended. PS: the truffle course was a special seasonal pleasure.
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