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Oct 20, 2008 06:30 AM

New Haven Restaurant Week

For New York's restaurant week, many of the places make prix fixe menus that are not what they normally serve in order to hit price point and to help offset the volume of food the kitchen will send out.
Do you think that's going to happen here and if so, which restaurants do you think will give you the most bang for the buck?

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  1. Oh Boy! Thanks so much for pointing this out. Quite a list of good restaurants, too!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Scargod

      I know that other cities usually try to post the restaurants' actual price fixe menus online so that people can know what they are getting... I hope New Haven does the same.

      1. re: Scargod

        I know...I'm excited about it.
        I've been here in the New Haven area a few years, but haven't tried any of the upper end restaurants.
        Most of my family is in the NYC area, so we tend to do celebratory dinners there.
        Looking forward to Union League Cafe and Bespoke.
        Anything else I shouldn't miss?

        1. re: somnambulista

          I saw a list of the restaurants and pretty much all of the "biggies" were on it. One thing to is not truly "Restaurant Week" - it is running from Sunday to Friday, so conveniently, Saturday night is not part of the promotion.

      2. One third are not doing lunch. Is that normal for those that are not participating for lunch?
        Scoozi and Tre Scalini are not participating! Booo. I don't care about Leon's.
        This is the first year, but for those who chose not to participate: what a bunch of weenies !

        18 Replies
        1. re: Scargod

          Hi all-
          Some restaurants are now listing their menus for the event--I hope the trend continues. many choices and only 6 days!

          1. re: justme123

            I haven't seen any of the menus yet. which restaurants are listing them?

            1. re: joan mar

     is all that I can find.
              Zinc has an "exclusive event" - Joe Bastianich Wine Dinner November 12, 2008, which seems to conflict with "Restaurant Week". I guess that's in a private dining area.

              1. re: Scargod

                If you go to the list ( ) there are links on the right side (they appear in blue).

                Thanks for the caseus link--that is not listed on the main website! I am thinking we will try Ibiza....

                1. re: Scargod

                  We have made a reservation at L'Orcio, so I was hoping to see what their menu would be, but I'll just have to wait and be surprised. Can't wait to try this restaurant!

                    1. re: joan mar

                      As L'Orcio is one of our favorite restaurants, we eat there at least twice a month. Their farro salad is a must try. It is a light salad of barley, good olive oil, mozzarella, and pine nuts. It is yummy! I prefer both the filet balsamico and the branzini. I hope you enjoy it. It truly is a gem, and the owners are wonderful.

                    2. re: Scargod

                      Zinc is closed for regular service on Wednesday for the Bastianich dinner. They are participating in restaurant week for both lunch and dinner on all the other days. As far as I know tickets are still available for the Bastianich dinner and that looks like it should be a pretty cool event. Even without the special restaurant week pre fix menu.

                      1. re: keith2000

                        Any more feedback on any of these deals, besides the L'Orcio menu? We're trying to decide where to go tomorrow night - not Zinc obviously.

                        1. re: shoes

                          Can't help you with dinner, but we enjoyed a nice lunch at the Union League Cafe today. Two of us had the kabocha squash ravioli for an entree and the orange creme caramel for dessert, and the other two had the duck confit for the entree and the poached pear with chocolate for dessert. The portions were what you'd expect for the price (which is to say, just fine) and the food was delicious. I've never seen the ULC so packed for lunch - not sure if that was because of Restaurant Week or not.

                          We're going to Pacifico on Thursday.

                          1. re: Roundelay

                            I also had lunch at Union League yesterday. I had the duck and the pears, and my wife had the ravioli and the creme caramel. I was more impressed with her dishes than with my own.
                            The duck was very good, but very odd for a confit. It had more of a slow roasted taste, texture, and presentation. There was also an odd, very vaguely Chinese taste to it. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but I think that they may have added some roasted sesame oil to the rendered fat. Still a very good dish, though.
                            The poached pears were another story. They tasted like the poaching liquid was plain, unflavored water. The texture was also far from ideal, and slightly rubbery. Coupled with the snail's pace service, it came off as if they were unprepared and understaffed for the volume of business restaurant week has generated.

                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                              I heard on the news last night that some restaurants are considering extending the promotion for another week or so. Should be interesting to see whether they do or not.

                              I had planned on trying Ibiza for the first time tomorrow night, but they were unavailable due to a private party. So, we will go back to Central Steak--not that I am complaining, mind you! Unfortunately the DH works nights, so our ability to go out during this week is limited to Thursday. Oh well. I do wonder, are the dinner portions for the restaurant week menu the same as they are normally?

                              1. re: justme123

                                We've had great meals at Bespoke and Union League for Restaurant Week. Be aware there there are two prix fixe menus at both places:They will try to "up-sell" you. In addition to the advertised $29 menu, UL has a $49 menu with wine pairings, Bespoke had a $45 menu with fancier stuff. We had one of each at Bespoke and the tuna entree on the more expensive meal was worth the extra cash. We stuck with the basic at UL because we didn't want to drink that night. (Spent more than our meal cost at Bespoke on excellent cocktails!) UL was very crowded and service was slow, but the big-city atmosphere was worth it. Mind you, my partner found it snooty. Definitely try all of the restaurants, this is a great deal!

                                1. re: newhavener07

                                  does it bother anyone elsle that that they would try to 'up sell ' you? It seems disingenuous to me, to say--hey come to these great restaurants in New Haven and have a great meal for less than $30 per person, and then try to up-sell.

                                  I could totally see people who are 1) intimidated by fine dining and giving it a shot or 2) unused to coming to New Haven (OH the CRIME--OH the PARKING)....being completely turned off by such a practice.

                                  Maybe I am just being particularly cranky today...

                                  1. re: justme123

                                    It actually does turn me off that they are trying to "up sell" when I'm coming specifically for the "special" pre-fixe of $29.00! I wonder if L'Orcio is doing that too? It's funny that newhavener07 says that he spent more on cocktails than on his meal at Bespoke. We went to Bespoke/Sabor this summer one night for a drink on the rooftop and it cost us $22 (+ tip) for a glass of Pinot Grigio and a Stormy Night!!

                                2. re: justme123

                                  L'Orcio is extending the special menu into Tues, Wed and Thurs of next week because it's overbooked. Or so I was told on the phone when I tried to make a reservation for this week.

                                3. re: danieljdwyer

                                  I've had lots of confit in France and I agree there was something a bit different about the UL version, but not necessarily in a bad way...Perhaps they were ultra aggressive about removing the fat or did some cooking sous vide. Flavor was also quite mild. I agree that the pears were uninteresting, but the creme caramel was nice.

                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                    Now that I think of it, it's probably the American duck that's so mild, compared to the duck in France you get at cheap bistros, which I assume is captured in the Seine the day it's cooked!

                  1. We ate at Miya Sushi last night and had a wonderful experience. There's no attempt at an upsell, although I understand Maya does a prix fixe on Wednesdays anyway and simply adapted it to Restaurant Week.

                    The place leaves a lot to be desired in terms of atmosphere - typical dismal-ethnic-restaurant-in-a-college-town stuff. But the food was phenomenal and the service was very friendly, which more than made up for the mismatched furniture and the fact that they give you one tiny plate to eat off of all evening.

                    Among my favorites was a hand roll with papaya in it, a talapia ceviche, a steamed artichoke and a hand roll wrapped in potato instead of seaweed. The menu has creative names for all these dishes - they escape me - but the menu makes for interesting, if sometimes too-much-info reading.

                    The only dud in the lot was the dessert - too many flavors that did not get along.

                    Drinks were also fun. I guess the place does not have a full bar, but it does have a nice array of sake and some fun beer cocktails.

                    The servers were very knowledgable and friendly and explained all the dishes in detail, which helped a dining colleague who is a bit squeamish on raw fish. (He ate it all and liked everything but the tilapia.) The chef comes around to drop off dishes, chat and otherwise charm the patrons in a way that was fun and welcoming, not overbearing as this behavior has been elsewhere, IMHO.

                    In all - a real gem of a place and a nice bargain. We'll be back, Restaurant Week or not.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: shoes

                      I'm glad you enjoyed Miyas. I was not impressed enough to return, after my visit, some time ago.

                    2. We went to Carmen Anthony. It was delicious. We had the filet mignon - perfectly cooked. For appetizers we had clam chowder (best I ever tasted), calamari (I don't like calamari but when I tried it, it was also perfect), I had the lettuce wedge and am sure they make their own blue cheese dressing. We had a bottle of Carmen Anthony Merlot which was very good and went well with the meal. It was the first time I'd been to Carmen Anthony and was glad to be able to try this wonderful restaurant at the special "restaurant week" prices. Not sure how soon we'll go back because it is so expensive, but it definitely is on our wish list. The service was superb, very knowledgeable, friendly, professional and on top of everything (it was the second night working for one young man). All in all a great experience. Wish I had time to try the other restaurants - can't because of work. Hope to hear other reviews - anyone go to Barcelona?

                      1. We ate at 116 Crown, on Sunday night. Then I hopped on a plane to British Columbia. We were supposed to have lunch at L'Orcio today but I guess I had jet lag (or it's just old age), but I was too tired to go.
                        116 Crown was very interesting. We met John, the young owner, and his wife. He thought my wine selection was interesting so he wanted to check us out. They had half price on their wine Sunday night. It was noisy in the front room. They had a large party, so we opted for a tea room. This is interesting since it is big enough for six or eight people, but there is no formal table and it is intimate, with a black, hand-painted ceiling. There is an Ipod dock, so you can bring your own music or practice your French or Spanish during a meal, if you so desire.
                        We decided to not do the pre-fixe and ordered shrimp, since they were out of oysters, a rare hamburger (cooked perfectly), short ribs (no bones), spinach salad and an order of truffle oil cooked fries. Everything was delish except they had way too much bay leaf in the short ribs.
                        I/we want to go back. The menu is more tapas-like, with smaller portions, in general. It is not your usual restaurant and John indicated that was his intent. Everything was high quality and the service was top-notch.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Scargod

                          We ate at Central Steakhouse last night. We have eaten there before, so we went with high expectations. For the most part they were met, with one notable exception. The restaurant was very crowded, and the energy was great to see on a rainy thursday evening. there was no attempt to upsell, although I did see a few people ordering off the regular menu, which the staff seemed more than happy to accomodate.

                          We were seated and presented with their extensive wine list, which is worth the trip in and of itself if you are into wine. The last time we were there we had an exceptional bottle , and we looked for it on the list. It wasn' t there, so we asked to see th matre'd, who had recommended it in the first place (we were looking for further recommendations). About 20 minutes passed, and they were clearly busy, so we placed an order for a different bottle of wine. About 1 minute later, the wine we had asked about was on our table. Evidently they had it at Bentara, and the matre'd went across and got it for us!!!!! Holy cow! Talk about cutomer service. (by the way, the wine was as excellent as I remember).

                          So, on to the food. I ordered the arugala salad, which was served with goat cheeese, spicy walnuts and a fig balsamic dressing. It was excellent. DH ordered the crab cakes, which were made with goat cheese and served with wasabi--also excellent (and I am not a huge fan of crabcakes). For entrees, the DH ordered the steak, cooked medium, which was served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. His steak was cooked perfectly, and he was very pleased.

                          My entree is where they went off the rails. I ordered the shrimp papardelle, which was prepared with truffles,spinach and sundried tomatoes. This is the same dish I had ordered the last time we ate there and I loved it. This time, it was probably one of the worst meals I have ever been served in a restaurant. The papardelle was so overcooked it was difficult to tell from the truffles. Even the DH, who doesn't know the meaning of 'al dente' thought the pasta overcooked. the shrimp (there were 3) were tough, and flavorless. It seemed to me that they took shrimp normally used for shrimp cocktail and plopped in onto the pasta, without any seasonings. In the end, I left a whole shrimp and ate the vegetables and some pasta. Quite a disappointment, and if this had been my only experience there I might not go back.

                          Desserts were cheesecake (one of the best I ever had) and an apple struedel which was a bit dry, but had good flavor. maybe a little more ice cream would have helped it out a bit. DH also ordered a glass of port, which was excellent.

                          Overall it was a great experience, and the service was exceptional. We will go back, but I don't think I would order the shrimp again.....