Jul 092004

My friend Harlan is engaged to a very nice woman named Kathleen he met at their hospital. A bunch of coworkers and I went with them to Esca to celebrate. They make a very cute couple. Harlan is a neurosurgeon resident, and Kathleen is a speech pathologist.

Harlan and Kathleen

We had a really great meal. Almost everyone had the tasting menu. (Anne abstained from the tasting menu due to the vagaries of what she chooses to eat.) We had several bottles of wine. At the end of the meal, Anne’s other half Stewart arrived with a friend of his and had several courses of their own as well. Phil and his wife Karen were also in attendance.

Here is a list of what we had to eat:

  1. An amuse-bouch of Mackerel and white bean bruschetta (the fish may be incorrect); a small dish of olives. Olives and bruschetta are a wonderful way to start the meal.
  2. A plate of flash-fried baby eels with lemon. This is a terrific snack food. The fish is a little oily to begin with, and the slight crust makes this a joy to eat.
  3. Two flights of crudo. Crudo is raw fish; it is essentially Italian sushi. Each flight was served in a glass dish with three pieces over a bed of ice. All of the crudo were dressed with virgin olive oil and sea salt. The dishes were:
    • A small oyster (I forgot the species, but it was a mild, briney New England oyster), Tilefish, and Fluke with seabeans
    • Kingfish with a caper berry, Hamachi with olive puree, and Razor Clam ceviche

    We also had an extra piece of crudo for each of us on a plate in the middle of the table: Sockeye Salmon with pink peppercorns. Sockeye Salmon is my favorite type of Salmon. It has a strong flavor and a beautiful color.

  4. A nice crispy piece of bacon, a wonderfully fried egg, and a small frisee salad served on top of a small piece of crispy bread. The egg was perfectly cylindrical with a crispy bottom. A cynic would call this a fancy Egg McMuffin.
  5. Stuffed fried zucchini blossoms for the table.
  6. Linguini with clams and pancetta. The clams were nicely cooked and the dish melted together magically.
  7. Squid ink pasta with Cuttlefish. I wasn’t sure if I would like this dish because I had never eaten Cuttlefish. I shouldn’t have been concerned. Cuttlefish tastes like a very tender, very rich squid. I don’t want to think about its cholesterol content.
  8. Striped Bass with a nice green vegetable. I don’t remember if this was definitely Bass. We were on our last legs at this point, and I was unable to finish this dish. There was a nice 4-6 ounce chunk of seared fish, with a nicely sauteed bed of greens. If I had skipped a course or two earlier, this would have been great.
  9. Five wonderful desserts:
    • Flourless chocolate espresso cake with a scoop of coffee ice cream.
    • Blueberries
    • Anise puff pastry
    • Three gelatos: honey, cherry, and chocolate
    • Fresh berries with a basil blintz

We had many fantastic wines, but I can’t even begin to describe them all. I could have enjoyed a white or rose wine; Phil favors red wines and he was doing the picking. That being said, we went through the gamut of heavy red wine types. The wines ranged from fruity with oak to earthy and dry.

Esca doesn’t seem to have a readily available website, so you can check out a short overview at Epicurious.

 Posted by at 2:38 pm

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