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My additional question got lost on this busy board!! - Starting new thread for SEAFOOD recommendation

Just a short one!
Besides Marea ( Italian ) and Le Bernardin ( French ), is Esca the next best place for SEAFOOD??!!
Thx!

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  1. Other than Le Bernardin, it is hard for me to identify another seafood restaurant that I love. It is more piecemeal. I dig Esca's crudos, especially some of the harder to find stuff (scorpionfish!), but have been let down by other things on the menu. I have enjoyed meals at Oceana, but I find it unexciting. So, you know, it is hard to figure out the next best. (I am not a fan of Marea)

    Does it have to be all seafood, or just seafood heavy?

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    Le Bernardin
    155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

    Esca
    402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

    Oceana
    120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

    Marea
    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    8 Replies
    1. re: nmprisons

      Seafood heavy will be fine!
      BTW, what don't you like about Marea?? It happens to be on our agenda since my son would like to try some of their pastas with interesting combo ingredients like 'bone marrow & octopus or 'Uni and crab meat'?!
      BTW, I love your 'I wish I could' on your profile!! My sentiment exactly!!!
      Cheers!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        I think Marea is worth it for the Lobster with Burrata, Seared Octopus, and Fuscilli with Bone Marrow & Octopus alone. I think I've already linked my review in your other thread.

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        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Well, I haven't had a piece of fish cooked properly there. The general sentiment is that their mains aren't so great, but the pastas and appetizers are. I haven't been too impressed with any of it. (The uni pasta at Le Bernardin is significantly better)

          Others on this board like it a whole lot, so you will have to sort through the noise to make a decision, but it is not a place I will be returning to.

          1. re: nmprisons

            Hello Charles! I am a fan of Marea, more for the food than the atmosphere. Please note that there is a difference between the whole fish and the fish that comprise part of the price fixed meal. The former are the way to go. You can order a la carte or add the whole fish to the menu with a supplement depending on weight of the fish. I would recommend the (wild) turbot and the salt-baked branzino. Enjoy!!

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            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: erica

              Hello Erica! Nice hearing from you!! Have you been back to the Orient since our last HK chowmeet?
              When it comes to whole fish, my wife only like the Cantonese steamed version. As for my kids?! Forget about asking them to eat fish with bones on!! As such, guess I'll just settle for the 'fillet' version. BTW, a few Chinese restaurants serve 'live' Turbot' flown in from France. Great when steamed with ginger, scallions and premium top soya sauce. Really brings out the sweetness of the fish.
              We'll definitely follow your footstep and try out Marea. I still have the phone and address you gave me in HK. May be I'll give you a call to say 'Hello' and ask for more 'food related tips'!

              @ Fooder I am looking for more innovative and 'intense and complex flavour' preparation of bi-valves, crustaceans, shellfish and fish. Sushi?! I'll leave it for my Tokyo trip. Whole fish?! As I eluded to above, we prefer the Cantonese steamed version which I believe Toronto can do a better job than NYC. Oysters, we have a few great establishments operated by world champion shuckers. Not as great as your Grand Central but good enough. Not much of a fan of crudos. And lastly, love to capture some of the great pastas I had , not in Italy, but in Japan and Da Domenico in Hong Kong. The latter - awesome pasta with scampi or vongole!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                I really do like Marea but I prefer Esca, although Marea tends to be more consistent. I also have problems forgiving Marea ever since they took, in my view, their best dish off the menu long ago and never put it back.

                Honestly your best chance for "'intense and complex flavour' preparation of bi-valves, crustaceans, shellfish and fish" might be Brooklyn Fare or Momofuku Ko. Reservations are hard to come by and neither is a completely seafood menu, but you're more likely to get those types of preparations with the seafood. Le Bernardin is known for being more refined and there are often board complaints about the food being too subtle. If you do dine at Le Bernardin, my suggestion would be to do the a la carte and make sure you get the dishes that specifically sound interesting to you, instead of a tasting menu.

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  HI Charles! I've not been back to Asia since 2010 when we met. But I still have those vivid memories of the siu yuk, the char siu, and the other delights we devoured at Fu Sing!

                  But I am so glad you are set to explore the NYC food scene! There are no bones in the whole fish at Marea, by the way; they will present it to your table already fileted, although they will show you the whole fish first.

                  Keep me posted about your plans!!

                2. re: erica

                  I am a fan of Marea as well although it has its detractors. I love their Sliced Raw Fish and Shelfish - Crudo al Tagglio.

          2. The pastas at Esca are exquisite, albeit extremely rich. I recently sampled a maccheroni alla chittara (crab meat and sea urchin) as well as a fettuccine with wild salmon and its roe.

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            Esca
            402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

            6 Replies
            1. re: AubWah

              How interesting!!
              Looks like every body in the Big Apple is doing a pasta with crab meat and sea urchins these days??!! So far I've heard from fellow chowhounders, renditions from Le Bernardin, Marea, Esca and A Voce!! A 'horizontal tasting' of the dish will be fun!!!
              Wonder which of those 4..... uses the crab brain/tomales in the sauce? The Shanghainese uses the crab brain as well as the meat of 'Hairy crabs' to make crabmeat ragu for their noodle dish in the fall! Very very tasty!!!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                I have eaten pretty many versions of sea urchin pasta worldwide, but Esca's sea urchin pasta prevails.

                BTW, don't expect to see any Shanghai hairy crabs in New York, even in season. I searched far and wide but I couldn't find any. I miss them A LOT!

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                Esca
                402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

                1. re: kosmose7

                  The best sea urchins and crab pasta I had was at ' of all places', an Italian Trattoria in Tokyo!!! Guess the combination of fresh Hokkaido Uni and King Crab is pretty tough to beat!!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Tokyo has a variety of uni pastas, but just try one at Esca.

                2. re: Charles Yu

                  I don't think the one at Le Bernardin has crab meat. He showed how to make it in the first season of his show, and I think it's caviar and uni.

                  Esca's uni pasta surpasses Marea's by far in terms of richness of flavor, but I've also had it there once where it was just too salty.

                  What exactly do you mean by seafood? Sushi, crudo, oysters, seafood pasta, composed dishes, filet entrees, shellfish entrees, grilled/baked whole fish, steamed whole fish, etc...

                  Certainly there isn't one place that specializes in all of that.
                  I would say Marea and Esca tie for pasta overall. The spaghetti neri at Esca doesn't get enough attention.
                  I feel Esca's crudo has a more rustic flavor than Marea's.
                  Esca has better mains and filet entrees than Marea. Marea does whole fish better.

                  Le Bernardin is best for composed dishes and refined flavors.

                  As I'm from Hong Kong, I'm biased against the concept of "best seafood" if I can't see it swim.