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Hampshire Franklin Daily Voice serves Amherst, Belchertown, Deerfield, Easthampton, Greenfield, Hadley, Montague, Northampton, Orange & South Hadley

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Acclaimed Pioneer Valley Steakhouse Draws Diners From Near, Far

The Federal in Agawam
The Federal in Agawam Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

The Federal in Agawam has a reputation for being a go-to restaurant for special dinners and celebrations - even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The venerable fine-dining establishment has been able to package that celebratory spirit into its new curbside pickup service.

Take-out from The Federal can be ordered Tuesday-Saturday, 4-8 p.m. The menu includes house favorites like “a bucket of balls” (risotto balls with black truffle butter and snipped chives), chef’s hand-cut steak tartare, roasted rosemary duck breast, wild forest mushroom tagliatelle, fig and prosciutto pizza, and warm Nutella crepes.

The food-to-go option became an excellent choice during this time of social distancing. Reservations are a little harder to score at the new American cuisine restaurant, bar, and steakhouse - especially with competition for seats driving in from Boston, New York, and the Berkshires.

Yelp foodie Kim D. of Queens, New York, said when it comes to service, food, atmosphere, and cocktails, The Federal “never fails to amaze.”

“From the atmosphere, service, renovated COVID precautions/stylish safety partitions ....to the food( oh, the food ) and daily cocktails ... superb and flawless, all! We started with a sampling of the daily cocktails at our table if 4.... a flight of great beer selections, a fab margarita with ghost pepper partial rim( could avoid if you choose) a cardamom-infused Old Fashion, and the whimsical 'Love Potion.' On to a delicious round of apps. Beet "carpaccio" chicken, fried shrimp, and Foie Gras on a waffle with a maple ice cream side ( sounds weird tastes great).“Main courses … a perfectly executed burger, scallops over scrumptious Duck confit hash, A perfectly prepared pork chop Milanese with arugula topping, and a delightful and delicious HUGE portion of Duck breast with gnocchi. A dessert we shared of red velvet yumminess, topped a perfect combo of dining, and enjoying the long-awaited night out with dear friends.”

The Federal’s owners, Chef Michael Presnal and Ralph Santaniello, said they seek to combine “white linen elegance with fresh, innovative American cuisine.” The menu is heavily influenced by Italian and French cooking.

Menu standouts at The Federal include Red Beet Risotto, Burnt Tangerine Glazed Cod, White-Chocolate Panna Cotta, House-spun Cotton Candy, Braised beef short ribs, Cockle clam chowder, and, of course, steak.

Yelp foodie Wanda A. of Lynn said she drove an hour and a half on Valentine’s Day to treat her husband to dinner at The Federal - and she’s glad she made the trip.

“The ambiance was classy and intimate. For an appetizer, we ordered the Italian Burrata which was really good and had the complimentary bread which was light and so good to dip it in the Burrata. I would eat this twice. Additionally, my husband ordered the butternut bisque which had pieces of lobster in it, he absolutely loved it. For the entree I ate the truffle Mac n cheese with the braised beef it was good and filling. That stuffed me up big time! The hubby ordered the chicken Bolognese and enjoyed it as well. Lastly, for dessert, I had the banana Foster crepe and my husband had the sorbet with honey ( he asked for honey to be drizzled on). Overall we enjoyed our time and the food here, too bad we live so far but if we're ever passing thru definitely coming back. Yes, it's a bit pricy but for the food, service, and ambiance it's worth it.”

As Wanda A. noted The Federal’s fine-dining comes with fine-dining prices, but they're far from exorbitant. Appetizers, for example, cost $9.95 (for a Bistro Caesar Salad) to $17.95 (for Foie Gras French Toast).

The Federal is tucked away in the heart of Agawam and operates out of a Greek revival home constructed in 1862. In 1936, the restaurant became part of the private Federal Hill Club and was run by the Moretti family for 50 years. 

The Federal, 135 Cooper St. in Agawam, is open Tuesday-Wednesday, 4-8:30 p.m.; Thursday, 4-9 p.m.; and Friday-Saturday, 4-9:30 p.m. The restaurant is closed Monday-Sunday. During COVID-19 reservations are required, but even before the pandemic securing a reservation was a wise move in order to dine at the popular eatery. Contact The Federal at (413) 789-1267 or thefederalrestaurant.com.

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Serves Amherst, Belchertown, Deerfield, Easthampton, Greenfield, Hadley, Montague, Northampton, Orange & South Hadley

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