There are a variety of restaurants in the Theater district, most of them are not very good. We generally eat after the theater because we find ourselves nodding off after a good meal. So, we try to eat a light meal post-theater. Esca is one of our favorites.
In the past, we just go to the bar and sit. Unfortunately, they are getting rid of the bar due to complaints of people who are eating in the bar area through a reservation. But, there will still be seating available for people who just walk in. Also, in the summer, they take over the sidewalk with out door seating which is always nice.
One of my favorite things about Esca is the “italian sushi”. The appetizer menu is a variety of fish, served raw, but spiced up with an Italian twist. The tuna carpaccio is rich and buttery served with olive oil and chives. Each of the fish appetizers are either served with some type of olive oil – plain or flavored – with one other flavor such as crushed almonds or clay salt or even juniper berries. All simple but delicious and light.
The main courses are also delicious. Nothing is too heavy but just touched with the right amount of spices to let the fish stand out on its own. The pastas are good too. If you so desire, you could go for the classic Italian 3 course meal. I generally stick with a smorgasbord of what I want since it is generally post-Theater.
When u sit down, they always start u off with sliced and toasted italian bread with a white bean tapenade. It is delicious. White beans combined with onions, peppers and spices. I could eat it with a spoon. Always an added bonus, they have a great wine list.
The desserts are also heavenly. We had a cookie platter and everything was bite sized delights. We also had a deep rich chocolate cake with a coffee ice cream scooped over the top that was the sweetest richest coffee ice cream that I have ever had.
I have been back to Esca many times and will continue to return when ever I am in the neighborhood.