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what to eat at Esca?

I couldn't find any recent posts on Esca. So, is it a mistake to order the pasta there? in looking at their tasting menu, they do not offer pasta. Makes me think it is not what you order at Esca. I do like the pasta at Babbo, if that means anything.
The last time I was at Esca was when they first opened. I didn't like it much, but I want to give it another try. My last visit there, I had a fish dish. The menu had many "middle Eastern" flavors i.e. cumin, , fava, more
The menu looks completely different now.
Aside from my pasta question, any recommendations would be welcomed.

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  1. I was just there at Esca.

    We did not have the pasta. Was told the Branzino was the way to go, and so we did. But we shouldn't have. It tasted just fine, but was way too expensive for what we got. Nice presentation and all, but at the end of the day we felt it was just fish.

    The crudo tasting, however, was very good.

    I would pass on the desserts.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I always felt crudos are the best part of Esca.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I see simple grilled Branzino dish in many popular restaurants but I never ordered them because my husband grills those branzino perfectly on our outdoor grill. We buy them from local H mart for about $7 per pound. They are so good..with lots of sea salt and lemon. yummm..taste so much better than $30 plus at a restaurant.

        1. re: Monica

          The branzino at Esca is baked in a complete crust of sea salt if I remember correctly.

          1. re: Monica

            Monica, we do the same just about once a month and got pretty good at it over the years. But unlike you we actually make the mistake and order it quite often

        2. The spaghetti with lobster at Esca is delicious.

          1. I haven't been back in a few years either, but the menu looks pretty much the same. I always felt that the crudo and pastas were the strong points of Esca, especially the squid ink pasta and the sea urchin pasta.

            Their gnocchi is excellent too, although you can have that at other places, just like I favored their branzino for two until a superior one arrived at Marea.

            1. You want the linguini with clams. A recent meal there of that dish (from a friend we trust) was excellent.

              http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01...

              1. Ditto these responses. We went in February and Esca was one of our splurges. I got salmon and my wife one of the pastas. Although the salmon was perfectly cooked, it was not a knockout tastewise while my wife's pasta was special. Don't get the fish for an appetizer either. I recall that the wine that I had by the glass was very tasty as was the Negroni. Also I was surprised at how casual some people were dressed. Since we were from way out of town (Maine), I had a tie and jacket but certainly didn't need to be that spiffed up.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mainahs

                  "Also I was surprised at how casual some people were dressed. Since we were from way out of town (Maine), I had a tie and jacket but certainly didn't need to be that spiffed up."

                  It's like that at many places in NYC these days. But if you feel comfortable wearing a tie and jacket, please do so. I wish more people would. We went out to eat after a special mass at church this evening so we were both wearing suits. The restaurant was on a par with Esca. I was sitting next to a guy wearing shorts. While I feel he was underdressed, I realize we were at the other end of the spectrum and may have been overdressed. Still, I think my husband and I looked much nicer. :)