Any thoughts about Esca - - good, bad, no big deal?
i went a while ago, but i was underwhelmed and never returned...the raw courses were very tasty but expensive given the portions...and the pasta w/ crab had literally a teaspoon of crabmeat in it...perfunctory service...bland vibe (felt like a restaurant in the Hamptons)...nothing *wrong* with food outside of the skimpy portions, but personally i found the place not worth it (on the other hand, i do like Lupa a lot)...that said, Esca has its share of fans here so your experience may differ...
I loved Esca.. The raw dishes were phenomenal.. and the best main course to get is the 1lb lobster with spaghetti, chili's and mint.. something like that. The place is really really good.. expensive, but very good.
I went about a month ago. It's decent. I enjoyed my meal. Got the crudo tasting and expensive for what it is. $30 for 6 very small, almost bite-sized tastings of raw fish. Then shared two pastas and a fish entree. The pasta portions were pretty big. My boyfriend and I were stuffed after the pastas. We had the sea urchin and crabmeat pasta. Decent amount of crab meat and was really good. I forget the other pasta. We didn't like it much. They won't give you cheese for your pasta, so don't bother asking. Our waiter said the chef does not allow it and the waiter would get fired if he gave it to us. He brought over breadcrumbs instead. The salmon entree we had was delicious.
If I went again, I'd sit outside, share a pasta or app and order one of the fish dishes.
I went about 18 mths ago and was very disappointed, but have been back twice within the past 2-3 months and really enjoyed it. The crudo tasting is great and they do a great whole fish - never had pasta there though. The service has always been very accomodating but the best to go after the pre-theater crowd or they can be a bit harried.
the crudo is excellent. the spaghetti neri is also wonderful. hard to go wrong here unless you buck the trend and try to cross swords with the theater crowd. make a reservation for 7:30 p.m. or later and all will be well. BTW, the wine list is very good. the tasting menu with wine pairing is a good way to get a handle on the place if you haven't been before.