I attended the preview party Wednesday night. Here’s what to expect:
The location: ESC is as south as you can get on Eat Street — if you see Kmart, you’re in the right place.
The industrial brick warehouse’s high ceilings make the space feel enormous, though actual seating might be scarce on a busy day. There’s a cozy room upstairs with extra tables.
The food: Halls typically rent out most of their stands to other vendors, but five of the six options — the only exception being bubble-tea chain Chatime — were created by the team. The Bebe Zito owners have the ice cream shop, burger stand and a new Brazilian pizza concept; Zen Box Izakaya owners claim a sushi restaurant and ramen bar. There’s a giant wine wall and bar in the center with a cocktail menu that includes a drink for every zodiac sign.
My thoughts: Personally, I go to food halls because they have restaurants I can’t find anywhere else, but half of ESC’s vendors have multiple locations outside the food hall. However, I think the new food ideas are strong enough to bring in diners who were already familiar with the existing ones. I love Bebe Burgers, yet found myself skipping it to get an extra bowl from Ramen Shoten.
Plus: The bar program stands on its own. I’m a Scorpio, but the Aquarius ($11) cocktail with rum, horchata and ube was delicious.