Fifty Best New York Restaurants
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  Cuisine: Italian, Seafood  
  Location: Theatre District  

ESCA           Italian, Seafood

You've got to hand it to master chef, TV personality and entrepreneur Mario Batali, he keeps rolling out hit after hit in the gastronomic galaxy. With partner Joe Bastianich and chef David Pasternack, Batali has established Esca as another signature Italian restaurant/cafe, and has again found an opportunity to earn a gold star.

The menu emphasizes super-fresh homemade pastas like Spaghetti enhanced with fresh chiles, mint, and a one-pound Lobster, and seafood dishes from an herbal enhanced grilled and marinated Sardines appetizer to the Crudo (think Italian sashimi made from such sea creatures as razor clam), Alaskan King Salmon with sugar snap peas, or the Grilled Calamari with salsa verde-- specifically Italian but created with a flair that elevates to the highest of haute cuisine. The whole fish for two, baked in a sea-salt crust that's cracked at the table, makes for a performance suitable to the neighborhood.

With its patio allowing for folks to sit outdoors in warm weather, Esca has the touch of a rustic eatery in some Southern Italian town. The ambiance is quiet with the faint sound of everyday life adding to the authentic feel of the culinary experience. Perfectly matched wine list spotlights regional Italian favorites.

402 West 43rd Street at Ninth Avenue



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