|Image via Wikipedia|
|John Dory is a fish designed to eat, not to be eaten.|
We love whole fish -- my wife takes the head, my son slices off the tail section and I devour all that delicious flesh in the mid-section.
So I didn't know what to make of the scrawny specimen that was put down in front of me today at Esca, a seafood restaurant in Manhattan where my wife and I had a $24.07 lunch.
Looking at the Restaurant Week menu, I thought offering a whole fish was generous in view of the price. Boy, was I wrong.
I ordered the first course -- a crudo of Spanish mackerel -- because I had never eaten that fish raw, but the two pieces were the size of postage stamps.
My wife had a salad of wonderful greens with a whole-pistachio vinaigrette, and we both enjoyed the complimentary two dozen Gaeta olives and some marinated white beans on toasted Italian slices.
The oven-roasted, whole John Dory fish (photo above) was one of three entree choices -- my wife chose homemade tagliatelle with rock shrimp in a pesto sauce. She said it was a bit salty.
I have never seen such an ugly fish. It looked like it had gone on a crash diet before it was caught. The delicate, white flesh was delicious; there just wasn't very much of it. It was mostly bones, with an ugly head.
And it wasn't hot when I got it.
There was only one choice for dessert, a small lemon cake with fresh berries and an odd-tasting custard. The waiter said the kitchen was unable to fill my request for berries only.
This was my third visit to Esca, but I was disappointed. I left only a 15% tip.
Esca , 402 W. 43rd St., Manhattan; 212-564-7272.