Deb and I had supper last night at Esca, Dave Pasternack's superb seafood restaurant in Manhattan. We settled in with a glass of prosecco and a lovely amuse. We followed that up with six tastes of crudo in two flights. Highlights included the pumpkin swordfish, fluke with sea beans and radish, house-cured salmon roe and a killer Spanish mackerel with caper berries.
Next up was a baked Jonah crab with acorn squash, sage and Ritz crackers for Deb and a grilled octopus with giant corona beans and preserved sorrento lemon. Our pasta course was a shared spaghetti neri - squid ink spaghetti with seppia, green chills and mint. We washed it all down with a Sardinian red from AA Panevino (the winemaker was a baker). Dessert was the house-made gelato, a grappa for me (Nardini Riserva), Moscato for Deb and an espresso. Service and food were exceptional as always.
All this was prelude to the Melody Gardot concert at Town Hall. Unlike many of today's divas, Melody does not seek to impress with excess volume and piercing range. Rather, she seduces with nuance and restraint. I was amazed how she and her musicians (TWO trap sets, bull fiddle, guitar, sax with Melody on piano and guitar) could seamlessly transition styles from Brazilian, to Spanish, to Caribbean, to the blues and back to jazz. All-in-all a very impressive concert. Thanks, twodales.