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Festival Cafe







1 Review on “Festival Cafe”

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  • Michael Fiacco Post author

    We are long-standing residents of this part of the Upper East Side, and quondam world travelers, who have been fortunate enough to enjoy first-rate cuisine in a variety of US states and foreign countries. While there has historically been a plethora of fine dining in our immediate vicinity, including Daniel, several of David Burke’s restaurants, JoJo, Jean George Vongerichten’s first NYC location, etc., the stretch of 2nd Avenue between E 63 and E 57 has been a bit underwhelming. We noticed the advanced promotion for Festival Cafe to open in summer 2020 upon our return to New York in mid-March, and wondered whether they would make it, due to the extraordinary strictures that have been placed upon businesses of all kinds, but particularly restaurants, by those individuals in charge of this city and state who have arrogated to themselves the right to tell people how to live in the past 8 months.

    Consequently, when Festival finally opened, in September, we were delighted, and rapidly became friends with Tyler H, the manager; we have observed how this elegant restaurant has begun to thrive — not without opposition from some of the locals, unfortunately — by providing food, drink and ambience of the highest quality, as well as a measure of outreach to the community, offering live music, art displays, etc. We have partaken of some of the daytime cafe menu offerings, and found them to be most appealing — an excellent matcha latte, superb pistachio muffins, etc.

    However, this evening was our first plunge into Festival’s dinner cuisine, and we were not disappointed. A delicious “Vaccine” cocktail, with Casamigos Blanco tequila, mezcal, turmeric, fresh ginger and ginger syrup, etc., was a wonderfully refreshing aperitif, and a good substitute for a margarita, for which I have been hankering for some time.

    An appetizer, a Wagyu beef tartare, was superb, and our mutual entree, pumpkin ricotta gnocchi, was a lovely autumnal dish, with an intriguing blend of tastes and textural elements. Very satisfying, and sufficiently ample not to leave one craving for more (although that would have been most welcome!!).

    Such creativity and initiative, and the provision of one of life’s singular pleasures, good food and drink, not without increased risk in these extraordinary times, is to be applauded — and celebrated.

    We know that Festival will be with us for some time to come!! Congrats, Tyler, and everyone involved!

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