A star-studded line up of chefs behind the scene does not always mean a good meal. But at Esca, Mario Batali partners with Joe Bastianich and Dave Pasternack who The New York Times has dubbed, a “fish whisperer.” Inevitably, the result is a great example of upscale seafood rectitude.
It was here that I had my first taste of crudo, an Italian take on serving raw fish. Akin to ceviche, much of the fresh fish is seasoned with simple spices or citrus-based ingredients.
Reminiscent of conventional street seafood, the French Fries of the Sea (little silver fish rendered crisp) are a great starter to share.
Most notable is the Maccheroni Alla Chittara; a homemade guitar cut pasta with sea urchin, crab, and green onion. Comparable to caviar but rendered luxuriously by way of brine and olive oil, this dish is simple, hearty, and sophisticated.
Desserts are not a concession here. Putting any Starbucks’ frappuccino affogato style to shame, Esca’s Affogato Di Gelato is worth every caloric hike. Think vanilla gelato and mascarpone, doused with brawny shot of espresso.
402 W 43rd St
(between 9th Ave & 10th Ave)
New York, NY 10036