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January 21, 2010

Where to eat in New York City- Restaurant Week 2010


It’s back. Restaurant Week (RW) is next week which means you can enjoy a three course meal at one of New York City’s finest restaurants. Lunch is $24.07, dinner is $35.00, tax, tip and beverages are extra.

While this is an excellent opportunity to explore and experience some of the best eating establishments in the city, often you will not be experiencing the kitchen’s finest food. RW is almost always a set pre fixe menu, often offering salad, chicken breast & chocolate cake, so unless you’re hungry for a salad, chicken breast and chocolate cake choose your restaurant with that in mind.

Here is my perspective on the restaurants I’ve visited that are offering RW menus this year. Make reservations early and confirm that they are serving RW specials for the meal you want. Some restaurants offer RW for lunch only, some offer RW for dinner only and rarely is this offer valid on weekends.

5 Ninth, I’ve only been here for drinks, this meatpacking gem has a rustic and romantic aesthetic. It is one of the prettiest rooms I’ve seen. They have a beautiful back garden that is precious, so perhaps wait until the weather is warmer. RW is a great value though as it’s not an inexpensive restaurant.

Asia de Cuba One of the best RW decisions you can make. The atmosphere is swanky and the food is delicious and their RW offers are the smartest I’ve seen. They do the best job of selling their restaurant using this promotion. Family style service and portions allow you to sample more than one thing from the menu. Get your group and go.

Brasserie 8 1/2 A solidly good meal, a semi-swanky atmosphere, a convenient mid-town location. I think they taped an episode of Sex and the City here.

Craftbar Top Chef fan? It’s a Tom Colicchio restaurant. I’ve only been for breakfast, but for star chasers this might be a fun choice. I believe you order everything ala carte, so not sure how they present their RW menu.

Calle Ocho
It’s a cool atmosphere and a good upper west side date staple. Drinks and appetizers might be enough, but if you’re hungry and this is convenient you may be pleasantly surprised.

Compass
Quality food, industrial decor, Lincoln Center location. This restaurant impressed me because they send their patrons home with a muffin for breakfast the next morning. Oh, how I love the little things in life.

Crema Restaurante
I remember this was a really good Mexican inspired meal. We had a lovely server and very good food. I’d love to explore more of their menu.

Devi This was an EXCELLENT meal! The upscale Indian food was superb. I highly recommend this place if you like Indian cuisine. Great decor and cocktails, also.

Dos Caminos This is my guacamole go to, but don’t think I’d use a RW meal here. It’s not that expensive normally and really, the food did not leave a huge impression, other than the guac that it is.

Esca
A lovely, classy and delicious dining experience. This is a midtown treasure, frequented by New York Times’ folks. Definitely worth a RW visit.

etcetera etcetera A good restaurant but not overly expensive, this would be a smart pre-theather option. The owner is very hospitable and they have a private room upstairs if you’re hosting a large group.

Fig & Olive Meatpacking YES. This meatpacking restaurant is worth your time, money and calories. Go.

The Harrison
I was taken here on a very lovely, grown up date. I have nothing bad to say about this place. This is Food Network Chef, Amanda Freitag’s restaurant.

Isabella’s Go for brunch. It’s reasonable and good fare. Make reservations, this place gets busy.

Norma’s Another very good breakfast place. Got kids? Bring them, they’re cool with it.

Mercer Kitchen I was here many years ago, but I remember it being dark, sexy and decadent. Love me some Jean Georges.

Molyvos Again this was years ago too, but it was a very good Greek meal served in a cozy atmosphere.

Megu I am a sucker for Asian food, this is a grand atmosphere and a very good restaurant week experience.

Nobu This was one of the restaurants I had always wanted to eat at, went for restaurant week and was memorably underwhelmed. Perhaps you need to order off the menu in order to fully embrace the Nobo experience.

Opia A great place to grab a drink midweek, a great venue for a private party and a dessert that would make me save up all my weight watchers points of the week for, but overall there are better gastronomic adventures to be had during RW.

Po One of my single best restaurant memories was made at Po. I took one of best friends here for her birthday, we got the chef’s tasting menu and it was fantastic. I may suggest you skip restaurant week and spurge for the chef’s menu. Sit back, relax and let him decide what you’ll eat all evening long. There’s also a Brooklyn location of Po, the owners are great!

The River Cafe River Cafe is lovely for a quintessential New York experience. The food is great and they offer magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline.

Rouge Tomate Fresh, organic: was just there, only had one thing, the fresh tuna and asian pear, but it was delicious!

Ruby Foo’s Casual and not expensive. This is a great group place, as it’s large sharing portions, but unless you’ve been traipsing the city streets all day or you’re in worn jeans and tired sneakers, I don’t recommend using RW for this place. It’s a fun casual option for those exploring Times Square.

The Russian Tea Room
Artistic, bold, intricate. Honestly, I don’t know about the food but the decor itself is worth the reservation.

The Sea Grill Very good food and fun at Christmas time with the Rockefeller Center tree in view, the ice skaters should still be in site next week. This is a magical place to eat when hosting out of town guests.

Spice Market My personal all time favorite. They do Restaurant Week perfectly. The decor, food and flavors are amazing. This is a restaurant I never tire of.

SushiSamba 7
It’s fine. Not bad.

Tao It’s lively, and sometimes loud. This theme like atmosphere is perfect for the young and young at heart.

Thalassa Get. The. Scallops. They were a vendor at last year’s NY Magazine Wedding Show and they served their scallops. (I am not a scallop person normally). They were aaahhhmazing. I would love to sample the rest of the menu.

What a fun post for me to write, thanks for indulging me as I remember so many delicious meals. I am a lucky lady, I’ve had many superb dining opportunities over the past ten years. I may not always remember exactly what I ate or how it was prepared but I cherish the people who sat across the table from me and the conversations we’ve shared. While, clearly I appreciate a delicious meal, be sure to take the comfort, preferences and location of your dining companion into consideration. Make your reservations soon and bon appetite.

What is your favorite restaurant week experience?

Please leave your review of the restaurant you try here, we’d love to hear about where you went, what you had and how you liked in. Not in New York, now worries, we’d still love to hear about your dining experiences.

  1. Anonymous

    January 25th, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Let's go to Brooklyn Po in the next couple of weeks. I had an impromptu meal there last night and their smoked mozarella gnocci is to die for. Anytime I think I know what I will have, I am temped by something new on the menu and am always surprised and delighted and the staff is AMAZING!

  2. Anonymous

    January 31st, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I want to visit every restaurant you recommended. Thanks for all the information. Have a wonderful day!!!
    Kathy Goldstein

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