Mario Batali's Esca Restaurant Awarded Four out of Six Stars by Honest Cooking

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Global digital food magazine Honest Cooking thinks the upscale Italian fish restaurant in NYC serves lovely food, but ambiance and service leaves much to be desired.

Mario Batali's Esca

Mario Batali's Esca

All in all, Esca is a very competent eatery, and it serves some delicious seafood. But with the rather high price level, we would welcome some added attention to detail, ambience and service.

Kalle Bergman, restaurant reviewer and editor in chief at Honest Cooking, visited Mario Batali's upscale Italian fish restaurant Esca, located in New York's Hell's Kitchen.

His first impression with the restaurant is that it is lacking in design and ambiance. "It comes off rather non-cozy, especially with the surprising musical score that accompanied dinner at our first visit to the restaurant. We’re all grunge fans here at Honest Cooking, but Alice in Chains and Nirvana doesn’t really feel like the obvious soundtrack for what is supposed to be an upscale (and rather pricey) Italian eating experience. Has Mr Batali finally become a hipster, and decided that an ironic nod to the late 90′s would be a cool feature at an exclusive restaurant? The answer from our waiter? – The guy with the iPod has his day off today."

The service at Esca often feels rushed, according to Kalle Bergman. "Always friendly, but constantly eager to move on to another table, another dish or another customer. Perhaps it’s a symptom of being located in the Theatre District, and there’s nothing wrong with the service, the staff seems knowledgeable, but a little more breathing room would be nice."

So what about the food? Well, that’s where the good news are. "The crudo is super fresh, and our oyster lover dove headfirst into a dozen beautiful Pemaquid and Watch Hill Oysters, served traditionally with just a little vinaigrette on the side. Perfect. From the altro menu, the Uovo di Pollo, scrambled free range eggs with fresh crab meat was extremely decadent, the creamy eggs marrying the salty sea notes and sweetness from the crab meat beautifully. Absolutely delicious", Kalle Bergman writes.

He concludes, "all in all, Esca is a very competent eatery, and it serves some delicious seafood. But with the rather high price level, we would welcome some added attention to detail, ambience and service."

Read the full review here.
402 West 43rd Street
New York,
NY 10036
Phone: 212 564 7272
The Honest Cooking Rating System
****** Six stars – Cooking on the highest international level. Service is impeccable and beverages are perfectly paired with the food. A world class dining experience.

***** Five stars – Represents cooking on an international level. Dishes look and taste great and display a personal touch. Service is highly professional making it a dining destination that is really worth a detour.

**** Four stars – This represents very good cooking with ambitions. Solid preparation of all dishes, only very few flaws. A restaurant that Honest Cooking recommends a visit to.

*** Three stars – Represents good cooking, and an above average restaurant, but without the more personal touches and craftsmanship that is demanded of higher ratings.

** Two stars – Represents average cooking. The restaurant doesn’t reach a level where the food stands out as anything special, and service / ambience has flaws.

  • One star – Represents sub-par cooking and service. A restaurant to stay away from.

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Kalle Bergman
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