Chow: Crudos at Esca for Restaurant Week
Crudo, or raw fish seasoned with citrus and salt, is an Italian dish that's quite refreshing in the heat. Esca will have its famous crudos on their Restaurant Week menu. Alex Van Buren of CHOW.com filed the following report.
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Hi, I’m Alex Van Buren of CHOW.com with this week’s New York CHOW Report, and this week we’re at Esca, on West 43rd street between 9th and 10th. It’s an Italian restaurant devoted to seafood and especially renowned for its crudo.
Crudo is the Italian variation on ceviche or sashimi. In other words, uncooked (or barely cooked) fish. The dish is typically served with a bit of citrus juice and salt-- but not enough citrus to actually cook the fish. Chef Dave Pasternack and chef de cuisine Katie O’Donnell are making some of the best crudos in town at Esca. One of my favorites is this gorgeous razor clam dish.
The chef was out fishing on Long Island when we stopped by, so Katie showed us how they make the dish. These are East Coast razor clams, which are so fresh they’re still wriggling. She cuts out the clam meat, sets the brine aside, slices the clam into small pieces, and mixes it with brine, mint, scallions, chiles, lemon and lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. She serves it in the beautiful shell.
The finished dish is a little sweet from the mint, spicy from the chili, and perfect for summer. Esca takes a lot of care with its basics right down to the salts: There are four sea salts used on these crudos, depending on the fish.
Esca is a pricey restaurant, so I was happy to see it pop up on the Summer Restaurant Week list. From July 11 to July 24 diners get a three-course lunch, which includes a crudo that changes by the day, calamari or salad, a pasta or a small fish, and an olive oil cake with berries. It’s a great deal for $24.07. And although the chefs at Esca try to keep an eye on fish populations, diners interested in sustainability can double-check the one they want to order on this Seafood Watch app. The clam we featured today is sustainable.
For more dining recommendations visit CHOW.com. I’m Alex Van Buren of CHOW.com, for food, drink, and fun.