I  caught up with recently with a good friend and business partners for lunch. They wanted somewhere very close by to Port Authority, but somewhere very good, not your typical fare, and where they would feel somewhat transported. I choose Esca. While it’s Italian, it’s primarily seafood focused with a large selection of Italian Shasimi known as Crudo.

With over a dozen Crudo to choose from it was no easy task…but the Pink Snapper with red clay salt and the Bigeye Tuna Carpaccio w/green oil and chives caught my eye so to speak. The Snapper was delicious and for some reason reminded me of Grapefruit so much so I was surprised it wasn’t an ingredient in the dish. The Bigeye was another hit and luckily we had a lady present which made us share vs fight over the food like we used to in the past. We also shared from the appetizer section the  perfectly lightly fried Calamari with Arugula, veggie of the moment Ramps and some chills to add a little heat.

For our Entrees as good as all the Fish entrees sounded it was the pasta dishes that drew us all in. I went with the Maccheroni Chitarra, a house made pasta with sea urchin and crabmeat, to try something different, which turned out to be one of the best pastas I’ve ever had. It was incredibly creamy and uniquely richly flavored. My friends enjoyed the Spaghetti Neri (Black Ink) with Sepia (cuttlefish) scallions and green chills and the Linguine with calms, pancetta  and hot red pepper. Both perfectly cooked and superior takes on the classics, each with a little unique twist.

To finish off the meal we had Espressos and Cappuccino’s. Alas we didn’t get a chance to try anything from the Desert menu since I had to jump on a conference call and they had a meeting. Esca is a great spot for a business lunch, bite by Broadway or a fine dining night out. Of note, the service was exceptional.

Esca is located at 402 East 43rd Street



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