David Pasternack, the man behind Esca and its famous crudo (what restaurant guides like to call “Italian sushi”), such as albacore tuna with caperberries and two-minute clam ceviche with jalapeños and watermelon, is a chef, a Long Island native, and a lifelong fish fanatic (he says that his dad took him fishing as soon as he could walk). Now the fisherman is an author as well. His book, The Young Man & the Sea, which came out in May, has 125 recipes, including many of those raw inventions, in addition to fishing tales. Of course, for his last meal, Pasternack has some very specific and fishy requests, but shockingly, the fisherman/chef would end it all with turf!
OK, your last meal, anywhere in the world. Where would you go? I would start out with a bit of bluefin sashimi. That would have to be in Sicily, during tuna season—like early spring. Then I’d have to have some hard-shell crabs from Tommy Hart, the Crab Guy. Those are the best crabs you can get. I’d eat them on my front porch. And with the leftover drippings, I would make a sauce and have spaghetti.
Would you do all the cooking? I would cook the crabs. Tommy don’t know how to cook!
Heh. And then? Well, I think I’d like a steak, a real Argentinean steak cooked by the gauchos—the cowboys.
A steak! Scandalous. What cut? I’m gonna go with a porterhouse, although they also grill whole ribs and stuff like that.
Would you have any dessert? Yeah, I would go to Lyon for that. To have chocolates from Bernachon, one of the finest chocolate makers in the world.
What would you be drinking with all this? In Sicily, vino. On Long Island, beer. In Argentina, Argentinean wine, and in France, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Who would you be with? My wife and my daughter. If I said anybody else, I’d be in trouble.
Anything else? I guess that’s it. What do other people say?
A lot of people want pork. Oh, yeah. If I was gonna have pork, it would be the pata negra (fatty “black hoof” pigs, raised on acorns and cured) in Corsica. The real thing. I’ve never had it. But my friend Hans Kissinger has photographed it. It’s amazing. Still, if I could only eat one kind of meat, I’d definitely have a steak.
For Dave Pasternack’s Two-Minute Cherry-stone Clam Ceviche recipe, check out our food blog, Eat for Victory ()villagevoice.com/blogs/food.