Restaurant Week 2007, is it worth trying?
I went to Nobu last July and in the previous summer RW. I went without making a reservation and ate alone at the bar. The first visit was excellent the second one was pretty good. I would highly recommend Nobu for lunch during RW.
I know from someone who works there that they do not use lower quality ingredients during RW but they also don't pay as much attention as usual when preparing the food. Also the service was great and the staff didn't make me feel like a second class citizen who shouldn't be there - which I can't say about other places I've been to during RW. Aureole and L'Impero were disappointing. The food was bland and the RW menu was very limited. David Burke & Donatella was ok but _everything_ they served was too fried for my taste. Cafe Boulud was excellent but portions were small and I left hungry.
Overall, I think RW offers some good deals but it's a hit or miss.
I had a memorable RW lunch at Eleven Madison Park this past July. Lots of choice, which certainly is not a given during restaurant week, and everything was delicious. And, as is often the case at Danny Meyer places, each diner was given a $25 card to use there at a subsequent meal.
Four of us (with some duplication) had the following:
Tuna tartar with microgreens
White gazpacho with tiger prawn and smoked paprika
Jameson Farm lamb with eggplant
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Grilled Maine diver scallops with cannelini beans, boullabaisse, and chorizo
Salmon with horseradish crust
Gnocchi of La Ratte potato with "fleur de courgette," lemon confit, and bottarga
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Warm blueberries, pecan financier, and cornbread ice cream
Sheep's milk yogurt cheesecake with mint ice cream and cherries
Chocolate and peanut butter thingy
RW is generally a joke.
most of the good places only do lunch and they already offer the same or similar lunch deal year around -- see the JG restaurants, etc....except that RW is "amateur week"....
the Danny Meyer restaurants are a notable exception...although most of them don't offer RW dinner either...
at many of the lesser places you'd be hard-pressed to spend $25 on lunch normally.
I have been doing them on and off for years. I strongly recommend lunch over dinner since dinner is usually where a restaurant shines with their regular menu (hopefully). Any of the Danny Meyer restaurants or Jean Georges Vongerichten restaurants do a better job of offering good choices. Also, like Devi's lunch. Many spots offer a discounted lunch through out the summer (or even year). So, try to pick a spot or two that doesn't offer the deal year round. Also, suggest taking advantage of Opentable.com to book during this period. No matter what, there are always a number of disappointments as well as many more spectacular experiences. Good luck.