All Reader Reviews of...
164 W. 75th St., New York, NY, 10023
nr. Amsterdam Ave.
Another winner for Valenti
By Marchie2003 on 9/29/2003
My theory that Tom Valenti can do no wrong was proven right on Friday night. While my party waited for me at the bar, they were treated to a mini wine tasting in order to choose the perfect white wine. The artichokes were to die for, marinated to perfection and served up with fluffy, air like ricotta cheese. My main dish was swordfish that was lightly smoked in a wood-burning oven. The braised pork was amazingly tender and filled with flavor and the special, a whole fish, tasted as if it was just brought out of the ocean that night. The desert was one of the best I've had. The chocolate pizzel with pistachio ice cream was cold and delicious. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal. I left the restaurant feeling satisfied and full, not stuffed. Tom Valenti was a fixture through out the night, walking over to some tables and keeping a close eye on the open kitchen. The wait staff was knowledgeable and friendly. Even though our bill came to almost $300. with tip, for 4 people. It was worth it...this is how you open an Italian restaurant in NYC. Bravo!
Lovely Space, Excellent Service and Food
By colpo on 10/20/2003
One is first struck by the exterior entrance: dressy but inviting. The interior attitude is welcoming, with an attractive bar and smaller standing tables. In the dining area, the food reigns. Try the pitch-perfect vitello tonnato or speck/rucola/poached egg starters, sublime in every respect. The special dorade was beautifully grilled, while the stewed tripe means one never need make it again at home (che puzza!). Special propers to the friendly sommelier, who recommended an excellent Fruilian red (we didn't know such a thing existed). Looking forward to the next visit.
A huge Tom Valenti Fan
By truly_sweet on 11/3/2003
I am a huge Tom Valenti fan from way back - before Ouest, Before Butterfield 81 (by the way - wee miss you there), back to the days of Cascabel. He's a great guy, a superb chef and a talented restauranteur. Best of luck with 'Cesca
By Will on 1/2/2004
'Cesca has it all: beautiful decor, diverse clientele, daringly mixed entrees as well as the basics, very creative desserts (like marzipan cheese cake with bitter orange sauce), and a host of Italian digestifs that brought me back to Grandma's. It's a can't-miss hit.
By newyorkbrit on 6/29/2004
Wow! This rivals LUPA for possibly the best Gnocchi in New York. Valenti wisely steers clear of Batali's "simplicity rules" mentality providing a mouth-watering shitake-mushroom gnocchi primi. Other excellent choices from the pasta include the shrimp raviolini with baby tomatoes.
Please Don't Go
By fadasan on 12/7/2004
This was like an Italian Restaurant in a midwest city: awful decor, TV on at the bar and mediocre, uninspired food. Although, come to think of it, in the Midwest, you would at least get some attentive service and pay 1/2 the price (the service was terrible). The food was really boring with cloying sauces and "cooking school" technique. WORST OF ALL, you would pay no less at Babbo. I'm not kidding. I do not get the hype at all. I have even been twice, thinking I might have had a bad first time, and both times it was perfectly consistent: uninspired, unattentive and overpriced. This shoud not be a "Recommended" New York Restaurant.
By Potsandpans on 1/11/2005
I have great respect for Tom Valenti as a person and as a restaurateur, and I think his Ouest is the best restaurant on the Upper West Side. But 'Cesca, though not the worst, falls so far short of its promise. I went three times just to be certain that I was not catching them on an off-night. The problem is this: There is a huge difference between using Italian ingredients and serving Italian cooking. For anyone who has experienced genuine Italian food in Italy, it is obvious that 'Cesca is interpretive, and unsuccessful. The food is too heavy, greasy, salty, aggressive. Real Italian food (not Italian-American) is much more subtle. The servers are a combination of arrogant and clueless, and treat customers as if they did not know anything about Italian food -- including a guest I brought from Milano! Back to the drawing board Tom....you may be filling tables, but it is damaging your reputation.
Worth the Extra Effort
By martin_chamois on 1/14/2005
'Cesca is an outstanding restaurant. Unfortunately many people know that fact, and therefore it is a difficult reservation to obtain. But either with advanced planning or willingness to sit in the open front section, it is worth the extra effort. The food captures Italy without trying to exactly duplicate what you would eat in Italy. The service at all levels is outstanding. The decor is comforting and promotes a relaxed and friendly dinning experience. If 'Cesca was in any city other than New York, it would be the best in town.
incredible arrogance and rudeness
By alexisjon on 3/23/2005
We had finally gotten a reservation at the highly touted Cesca. Our reservation was for 7:30 and 3 of the 4 were there at 7:25. We told the hostess the 4th person would be delayed (he was at meeting that was scheduled to end at any minute). They refused to seat us even though we offered to order the 4th persons meal, and said we would be put on "a rolling list" since we were not all present at the appointed hour. We were treated with disdain, rudeness and arrogance. We decided to leave after being treated like pariahs. As we left (quietly, no raised voices)the manager said "we'll remember you". There were dozens of people on the waiting list so they were not going to have any trouble filling our table. The place is dripping with the worst of NYC snobbish attitude. Who needs it?? There are too many other wonderful NYC restaurants that are user friendly.
By kaka on 6/15/2005
avoid at all cost bad mannered service 10 minutes with only bread at the table a $12 mini mimosa with tropicana and cheap cava a 1 hour wait for entrees a mediocre meal a $130 bill an aftertaste of bread an olive oil, which was the high point a ruined 40th birthdate
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