Esca was the first restaurant I worked at in NYC and I like to call it “restaurant boot camp” because it was the hardest year of my life. Esca has 3 stars from the NY Times and is owned by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianach along with the chef, Dave Pasternack. It is always busy. Always. It is located in the Theater District at 402 W 43rd St and it is a popular pre-theater dinner spot. It also happens to be in Nick’s building so, now that I don’t work there, we tend to eat there a lot- I would say roughly every 2-3 weeks. Eating at the bar is one of the best dining experiences you can have in NYC. The restaurant specializes in seafood with the most popular dishes being crudo (Italian sashimi, essentially) and the salt-baked branzino.
I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I was there recently and saw ramps on the menu. I had to order them. So here is a picture of Esca’s burrata with ramps:
If anyone were to ask me my favorite bite of food in NYC, I would hands down say Esca’s Maccheroni alla Chitarra. It is a hand-made “guitar cut” pasta with a sauce made from emulsifying fresh sea urchin with lobster stock, tossed with fresh lump crab meat and garnished with fresh, crunchy scallions. Here’s my (half eaten) bowl from a late night stop there yesterday:
Esca is a restaurant to check out! I have never had a bite of food there that did not blow me away. I was so lucky to work there and gain vital food and industry knowledge. Go in, sit at the bar and say hi to Vic for me!