I had what was almost a nice dinner at Esca on Tuesday night, but it was ruined by a terrible espresso at the end of the meal. My coffee was thin and watery, with almost no crema on top. Probably caused by too coarse a grind, or not firm enough tamping of the coffee into the filter.
I asked the waiter for another coffee, hoping that he would make me a decent one. He was quite nice about it, but the second one wasn't any better.
I know that espresso is usually made by a waiter or busboy, and they might be too busy to get it right. But it was late on a tuesday night, and the place wasn't crowded at all. So it must be a lack of training: they don't know what good espresso is, or they don't know how to make it. Or that they just don't care. In a place like Esca, where it's supposed to be top-notch Italian food (and with very high prices) this is completely unacceptable.
Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich: If you're reading this, please do something to fix this problem. There's no good reason why you should crank out disgusting espresso in a restaurant like yours.
Unfortunately this appalling situation is not unique to Esca- I've seen it in many top NYC restaurants.
Does anyone out there know of NYC restaurants that make good espresso every time?