'Cesca UWS waste of money
Went to "Cesca a couple of nights ago, thinking we'd try something new. We were gravely disappointed by the terrible service (the waitress had no idea what was on the menu). The food was mediocre at best: greasier than necessary duck and pasta. The chocolate gelato was very grainy. If staying on the Upper West, Lisca is a much better option, I think, and of course Gennaro if you don't mind waiting!
I walked by there tonight and really considered having dinner there. I recall enjoying dinner there under the original chef. However, the posted menu posted at the door wasn't all that interesting to me. It was rather basic in its choices yet, somewhat pricey for what was being offered. I skipped it.
I'm actually with High Heels on this one. I went to 'Cesca twice in the last couple of months. Both times I really enjoyed the food. I had duck the last visit. I found it really tasty. Yes, it was kind of greasy, but duck usually is. There were seven of us in total. Everyone seemed to like the food. Granted, I was treating so I'm not sure anyone would have complained. On the other hand, I didn't seen a lot, if any, food left on the plates. What I will take issue with is the service. The first time was fine, admittedly not stellar, but acceptable. The real problem was that at the end there was a pretty long delay (maybe 20 minutes?) in getting our check because their computer went down. They apologized but it was rather annoying becuase it was getting pretty late. The service, or lack thereof, the more recent visit was more noticeable because we were a larger party. Since I was playing the role of host I felt the need to make sure everyone was happy and it was hard at times when I couldn't always get service so easily. Also, they served the food before bringing the wine, which really bothered me. I have to admit I kind of snapped at the waitress in that instance. Still, I thought the evening was a success and really enjoyed the food and atmosphere. Lively, but not so loud as to have to shout to be heard. Also, we had reasonable privacy, more so the second visit than the first. While it's not cheap and they should probably have better service maybe I'm just so used to not great service at anything other than the highest-end of restaurants these days
I am an official 'Cesca hater.
They have a good "scene" for the UWS but Tom Valenti was what kept this place going food-wise. Now that he's gone, the food is just lackluster. My most recent meal (which, admittedly, was more than a few months ago) included a burrata special that was basically just cheese on top of some wilted arugula. Sorry, but I can do that in my apartment. The linguine alla vongole was fine, but nothing spectacular (can't blame them for the sand in a few of the clams, that happens everywhere.)
What I couldn't stand was paying such expensive prices for food that was "just okay." It's simply not worth the expense. Most importantly, however, was the obnoxiously snooty service. I hate it when servers assume you don't know anything...and then go and pronounce things incorrectly (my favorite mispronunciation is "bruschetta.") Add a wine list priced way too high, and you've got a place that I've finally convinced my parents never to go to again.
I'm so sorry to hear that! I used to live a couple of blocks away when it opened and was a regular -- never a bad experience. With the wide variety of restaurants there are in the city, it's tough to give a place a second chance, but if you're feeling generous, I'd give 'Cesca one more try.