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Your thoughts on Restaurant Week

Hey 'hounders,
I know it's that hectic time of the year to go to Restaurant Week, but I'm still braving the crowds and the possible lack/poor service when I'm going out to eat out on that Week. Anyways, from your previous experience on Restaurant Week, what were your experiences with the Bar Room at the Modern (for dinner)? Did the Modern serve dessert for RW? From the looks of the menu they've sent me, they're not. Also Aquavit Cafe (for lunch)? Strangely, for those two places I'm going there all in one day.

For my curious mind, where are you going to RW (if you are)?

Thanks for your advice,


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  1. I've only experienced the Modern for non restaurant week and in the formal dining room - phenomenal and I've heard great things about RW too.

    Aquavit RW lunch was tasty. I recall having some kind of cured trout or salmon (gravlax maybe?) entree that melted in my mouth and a passion fruit-y dessert which was quite tasty. Portions were decent (I did notice that portions were more generous with the red meat option - meatballs I think). Service was basic but sufficient.

    So far I have reservations for Asiate (lunch), En Brasserie (dinner), The modern (dinner), Artisanal (dinner), and Jo Jo (dinner). Yeah, gotta take advantage while it lasts.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kayonyc

      In all honesty I'd rather eat in any restaurant any other week than restaurant week. I find that the minute you scan the cheaper prix fixe menu the wait staff loses interest in you. My attitude is that I'd rather have one great full course price option off the "real menu" than 3 lame tastes off the discount menu. My last experience was at Gusto and I was disappointed. Mind you I had a party of 6 for the restaurant week menu which probably generated more revenue than the table for 2 next to me, but the waiter didn't care. The restaurant was empty and our service was mediocre.
      In our experience we weren't even offered coffee. We certainly felt like second class citizens. So not to frustrate you but before you head to the restaurant week menu, evaluate your full price options, it might be worth the compromise.

      1. re: vanessaknows

        I've done plenty of RW meals, and yes agree with you on some of your points. I've had terrible service at some (DB bistro) and just ok at most others(90 percent), and excellent yet at some others (Perry St, Aureole) HEy, if the service sucks, speak to the GM and make sure your tip reflects it.

        I just like to experience many different restaurants and can't ignore the great deal. My experience has been positive enough and I'd recommend on the whole, although I'd stress that the restaurant you choose will hugely impact your experience. The restaurants vary greatly in quality and appeal.

    2. I believe it's a rule of restaurant week that all restaurants serve 3 courses (dessert included).

      1. I find that RW can be a worthwhile experience if you do a little research in advance. Look for places that don't offer a $24 lunch prix fixe year round (a lot of them do, so no reason to rush to these places during RW), and I try to find places that depart from the cheapo soup or salad/salmon or pasta/sorbet formula. One good example of this is Lupa. They offer four courses, with choices, rather than the usual three, and you can get some good stuff. Last time the lamb scottadito (thick grilled lamb chop with broccoli rabe) was just about the best lamb I've ever eaten. And you can walk in without a reservation and get unreserved bar seating.

        1. I'm going to give Park Avenue Summer and Maze a try for dinners. Has anyone tried these for regular dinner yet? Was it good? Where should i try to get a lunch?

          1 Reply
          1. re: kam0424

            Salli_vates went to Park Ave Summer recently:

            It may be too soon to get much more CH intelligence.

            As for Gordon Ramsey's Maze (formerly known as the London), are the menus actually different now since the rebranding? I find this all very confusing. That said, I had friends who went to the London several months ago and were quite impressed, particularly with the desserts.


          2. I went to Union Square Cafe (LUNCH only) last time -- I would do it again.
            Mesa Grill -- Don't bother.

            We're going to Tabla (LUNCH) and One if by Land (and only because we rather not spend the normal dinner price there). '

            1. Eleven Madison Park has a pretty good lunch for restaurant week--I went last year and am going there again this year. I also have reservations at Gramercy Tavern and Chantarelle for lunch and Park Avenue Summer and Spice Market for dinner. Typically, I haven't been impressed w/ restaurant week menus (went to Mesa Grill, Indochine, and Blue Water Grill last year), but we'll see how this year is...I generally call that week and ask for the menu over the phone so I can see if the choices are appealing.

              1. This year I have dinner reservations at Bar Room, Devi and Perry Street and lunch reservations at Anthos, Aquavit and Altos. Lots of food in two weeks. Can't wait. Last year we went to ENS, Megu and Jovia. I think that Jovia was fantastic (portions were huge and both food and service was great) Megu was my worst experience, tiny portions and ridiculous attitude. Our waitress suggested that our table of 4 order 4 RW and 2 additional entrees bec. portions were so tiny. I went bec. I wanted to see the decor and will never be back again. Also EMP is always a favorite bec. they always have a choice from 5 selections for each course and service is good.

                1. I already know what's going to be served from Aquavit Cafe (lunch), Modern Bar Room, Aureole (it's on their site now), and Eleven Madison Park. In regards to EMP's menu, it's now 3 selections for each course.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chocokitty

                    I wasn't able to find some of those menus online (Modern and Eleven Mad.). Perhaps I am looking in the wrong spot on their websites? Can you possibly post the link to those menus?

                    1. re: jrazzle

                      Um...I got these via email just from requesting it from them. If you would email me, I'll send you the menus. Or just take the same route as I have and just email them via their "info" email address.