Depends how you define success... in this case it was to feed 8 people at 7:30 p.m on a Friday night with no res (don't think they take res) and to eat something good! Oh, and we had to be at The Living Room, 4 blocks away by 9. And it all worked out! In NY this is quite an acheivement.
2 of us got to Festival (120 Rivington St betw. Essex and Norfolk) by 7:20. The place was mostly empty. They set me and my friend up at a big table right away. We tried the waitresses patience with many drink orders (Tecate, Negra Modela, margaritas) and people dribbling in and ordering and they handled it very well.
Everything was a cut above, and a little different... lots of cilantro in the guac, interesting salsa, I had the Fish Veracruzan style and it was yummy, Mexican style steak was strips of marinated steak smothered in red and green peppers, nachos satisfied, etc., etc.
By 8:30 it was full and by 9 when we left there was a party at the tiny bar waiting for a table to open up.
It was $20 each incl. tax and tip.
No great find, just very serviceable and enjoyable.
One weird thing... the bar only shows beer. They say they had margs for $3 WITH tequila... and they tasted real but it seemed a little shadey.
BTW: walked by the alluring Casa Mexicana but the minute I saw the blue wineglasses I remembered someone's post about how horrible it was and laughed to myself (...hocky pucks of minute rice).