Midtown’s longstanding Italian seafood restaurant Esca rises from the ashes Monday in a renovated space with an outdoor patio, three months after a fire tore through the restaurant.
Now under the helm of Victor Rallo and executive chef Dave Pasternack, the 20-year-old restaurant received an upgrade that includes a rustic farmhouse-inspired dining room, a new 55-seat patio, a revamped wine list, and a slightly changed menu.
It’s still an Italian-inflected seafood restaurant, with Mediterranean-style crudo and handmade pastas available, including signatures such as the sea urchin pasta. But the restaurant at 402 West 43rd St., near Ninth Avenue, will offer new charcuterie and more meat options like a dry-aged sirloin and pork Milanese. The wine list is no longer just Italian, now sporting rare vintages and cult labels from Vallo’s own collection. Cocktails are riffs on classics, including a selection of spritzes, plus a briny martini paired with chile, mint, and slices of razor clam. The full menus are below.
Pasternack and Rallo, who together own Staten Island restaurants Surf and Barca, took over the nearly 20-year-old fine dining restaurant from Joe Bastianich’s company in May, after the restaurant reportedly took a 30 percent hit in revenue following the December 2017 investigations of former owner Mario Batali’s misconduct. Regulars reportedly avoided the place due to the celebrity chef’s involvement. The former Batali & Bastianich Group no longer has a stake in the restaurant.
Now Esca has blown open with a new look and feel, hoping to get those diners back in.
It opens Monday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Tuesday through Thursday, it opens at 4:30 p.m., and it stays open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sundays begin at 11 a.m. for brunch.