Restaurant Review: Daniel on the Upper East Side in New York City

‘Your Private Cabana is Ready’

An outdoor "cabana" on The Terrace, aka East 65 Street, at the restaurant Daniel

By Jonathan Spira on 23 May 2021
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Dining in New York City took a new turn as thermometers moved towards the freezing mark and restaurateurs took up the challenge to create outdoor dining options that banished the cold, more or less, while remaining in compliance with the Big Apple’s rather strict requirements on what constitutes actual outdoor dining.

Over the past few months, I’ve tasked myself with visiting the various options and have found myself in shacks, miniature greenhouses, a trolley car (or at least something made to look like one), and a yurt or two along the way.  Nothing has delighted me as much as what the French restaurant Daniel offers.

“Your private cabana is ready,” the host informed me when I arrivedfor dinner on a relatively warm March evening for dinner, just hours after my second jab.

With red-and-striped curtains, the rows of these private dining booths (there were several groups of them stretching down the block) seemed a tad incongruous on East 65th Street yet, once ensconced inside, the elegant table setting and the luxe wall coverings immediately set this structure apart from the mere hoi polloi of such things.  There were speakers softly playing music, there was a space heater. Life was good.

Indeed, these were no hastily erected structures.  It’s quite clear that much thought was given to the cabana and how the in-booth dining experience would be managed.  The restaurant refers to the areas as The Terrace.

Of course, this was Daniel, which will turn 30 soon, and the restaurant perhaps had engaged restaurant designer Adam Tihany, who designed the elegant interior, to do the cabanas as well.

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