402 W. 43rd St.,
New York,
United States,

Located on West 43rd Street at the edge of Manhattan’s Theater District, this Southern Italian restaurant is easy to spot thanks to prominent blue signage that announces “Esca” (Italian for "bait") in bold white letters underneath slender, curved lamps. The Mediterranean-inspired space features weathered hardwoods and ochre walls with built-in shelves laden with wine bottles. The crudo and branzino dishes (sea salt-encrusted whole sea bass) are sterling representatives of Chef Dave Pasternack's pure, simplistic approach to fish and seafood, a philosphy that has earned high praise from publications like the New York Times and New Yorker.