Vongole; Local littleneck clams baked with Cesare's Soppressata, Sungold tomatoes and Basil. I have no idea who Cesare is, but “Hail Cesare”. David’s clams have no equal, anywhere, and I have had them everywhere. Fresh, briny, and cooked to the right degree of doneness, I could eat a few dozen of these and be a very happy man.
During the summer months, David makes this incredible salad of roasted corn, chanterelles, walnuts and aged goat cheese, Insalata Di Granoturco. It is simply magnificent!
…as well as Spaghetti with a one pound lobster, chilies and mint. If there is finer version of this dish elsewhere, please let me know.
Our entrée was a stupendous Pan Roasted Trout “Almost Almondine” with pistachio nuts replacing the almonds. Like all the fish here, it was cooked to a moist perfection.
Esca’s wine list is one of the best and most reasonably priced in the city. We enjoyed 3 beauties from the list.
2012 Vietti Rorero Arneis. Vietti is, in my opinion, one of the top producers in Piedmont, Italy, crafting sensational reds and whites at modest prices. The Arneis was a delightfully crisp and delicious white made from the Arneis grape. Widely available at about $20. Wine-Searcher.
2009 Nino Negri Sfursat. From Valtellina Valley in the Lombardy region of Italy, this elegant DOCG wine is made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes (called Chiavennasca here) that grow on vines from steep, nearly vertical vineyards of about 3,000 foot elevations. The Negri estate is considered the premier wine producing estate in the Valtellina. The Sfursat, the estate’s top wine, is made from grapes harvested by trained pickers and dried for 100 days in the cool, dry, alpine air. This winemaking style combines the opulence of Amarone with the elegant complexity of Barolo. Today’s bottle was a perfect example of both. The wine danced and evolved on the palate with gorgeous fruit, great acidity, impeccable balance and finished with extended length and smoothness. In the vinification process, the wine rests for a short while in steel and then part of the wine is put for 20 months into 80hl Slavonian oak casks, and part into 32 and 53hl French oak casks. It then ages for some months in glass before release. Truly a wine with soul! About $70 Wine-Searcher.
2009 Nino Negri Inferno. From the DOCG sub-zone, in the commune of Tresivio in the Valtellina, the wine is made from 90% Nebbiolo (Chiavennasca), Pignola and Merlot. The wine ages in stainless steel for two months before spending 18 months in Slovanian Oak casks. It then ages for some months in glass. While lighter than the Sfursat, the wine had a beautiful translucent red hue, with a medium-bodied and velvety palate. It was round and delicious. At around $20 a bottle, a stupendous value. Wine-Searcher.
Another fantastic meal at Esca! Life is always good when you have the opportunity to share great food and wine with great friends.