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Winter Restaurant Week 2009

Hello folks,

I am planning to be a first timer this year to the restaurant week in boston in march. I havent found any participating restaurant listings or any other info about this. are there specific knowledge centers to tap into or should i rely on my most trusted source - foodies on this board?

i have a feeling i am jumping the gun a lil bit but its so exciting to be able to make it this year.....thank you for anything you might have to say.

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  1. From Bostonchefs.com:

    Boston Winter Restaurant Week 2009 will take place March 15-20 & 22-27 featuring 3-course lunches for $20.09 and 3-course dinners for $33.09.

    New this year: 2-course lunch option for $15.09—that’s an entree and plus either an appetizer or dessert. Plus many restaurants will be offering their Restaurant Week menus on Saturday as well. Check back mid February for the list of participating restaurants or enter your email address below to be alerted as soon as the list is available

    1. You can find the listing of restaurants (some with menus) here:


      Based on my previous RW experiences, Taranta, Lala Rokh, Pigalle, and Olives are standouts. Enjoy!

      1. Also, according to the official Bostonusa.com website:

        "American Express® Cardmembers have first dibs and can enjoy an exclusive early reservation period now through February 22, 2009 . . . Reserve your table now by calling the restaurants of your choice and mention any American Express Card."

        I would second Taranta or Lala Rokh to try and echo Pigalle and also Excelsior as great RW values. Other standouts for me have been Rialto and definitely, definitely Uni @ the Elliott Hotel.

        What makes RW a special is that its an opportunity to test some restaurants for significantly less than a normal 3-course dinner so I recommend taking that approach. Unfortunately, I feel some of those high-end prix-fixe menus are less impressive than the normal a la carte menus so I recommend viewing the menus first and choosing one that still seems like a good value for $33. Or, try to reserve ASAP at participating restaurants where you know you'd be spending more than $30 for dinner. And, of course, go with a friend and don't get the same thing!! : ) It always kills me when the table beside me chooses the same three dishes....

        4 Replies
        1. re: globalgourmand

          A 3-course dinner at Uni is maybe a few ounces or only a few half-bites of food. You will easily spend $75-$100 anyway and still need to hit the nearest pizza place because you're still hungry afterward. This place is way so ocerpriced and overrated.

          1. re: joebloe

            Joe, I can totally understand your point of view, and it is worth noting though I can't personally agree. I probably spend $75-100 on most RW bills anyhow-- two $33 menus, at least two glasses of wine, espresso and tip. So to try six unique preparations at Uni, whereby it is ordinarily so expensive (even overpriced,) I think that makes RW the perfect time to try it at least once. Even if the portions are small.

            If a diner's aim is not to be satiated in the stomach, but to be tantalized on the palate, I think it delivers, and so in such a case, I recommend. Otherwise, its true, a hounder could be happier elsewhere.

            For me, Uni offers a marriage of innovation and authenticity that works. I pick up real Japanese flavors in perfect execution, and techniques and combinations I never saw in my (Japanese) grandmother's kitchen. I have yet to find a similar experience at this caliber elsewhere in Boston. Perhaps with Grezzo in harmonizing vegan raw and fine dining?

          2. re: globalgourmand

            Excelsior is closed as of last Saturday, according to reports.

            1. re: Taralli

              Whaa? Thanks for the update. I wonder why...?

              We usually pick three restaurants every RW. So far my picks for RW Winter 2009 are L'Espalier, No. 9 Park, and one of the following:

              The Wine Cellar
              KO Prime (depending on their menu)


          3. I made a lunch reservation at L'espalier this year which I am looking forward to as I would never otherwise eat there.

            Maybe I had an exceptionally bad experience - but avoid Tremont 647 at all costs - at least during RW. Bad bad bad.

            3 Replies
            1. re: julieapfel

              Any idea what the menu is for L'Espalier? I work close by and want to do a work group but have picky eaters.

              1. re: julieapfel

                Funny, and Tremont647 was one of the better ones that my friend and I tried 2 summers ago, when we did some RW restaurant hopping. To each his own.

                1. re: julieapfel

                  Normally very good food and I eat there frequently. I wouldn't judge any restaurant (good or bad) based on RW since it simply is an entirely different experience from their normal dining experience.

                    1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                      LOL. Rule#1 when developing web sites...turn off directory browsing :-)
                      Good one...

                      1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                        Whoops! Yes GREAT work from "cannedmilk..." and scratch KO Prime off my list of possible restaurants-- as with previous years, not a prix-fixe menu I'd pay $35 for. Not anywhere.

                        1. re: globalgourmand

                          Actually, the RW menu at KO was quite good. We added some charcuterie, DC had the soup, I the salad (excellent) and both had the skirt steak which was well prepared, very tasty and a good portion. The dessert cake was, itself, non-stellar but the candied fruits and vanilla cream that accompanied it were excellent, averaging to good. I would not count them out of RW. We had wanted to try the place and it was a pleasant exposure.

                        2. I probably will try the lunch at Asana, and dinnner at Bina Osteria.

                          Edited to Add:
                          We like going to Toro during RW because that actually take reservations for RW! It's great because we usually go out to dinner on weekends and we don't feel like waiting forever for a table. Plus, their RW menu is the same as their regular menu.

                          1. The bostonusa link seems to be down as of right now. But here's another one: http://www.restaurantweekboston.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Suze123

                              It's back up! Oh well, the above is an alternative viewing...

                            2. How is EVOO during RW? Has anyone been? Menu is not available yet for EVOO.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: y2000k

                                I was just at EVOO last week and had their $35 3-course menu and we LOVED it. That said, why go during RW? The menu changes frequently based on what is available locally. I imagine you'll have a good meal any time of year at practically the same price.

                                1. re: globalgourmand

                                  I have never been to EVOO, so I don't know they offer a $35 3-course menu. I cannot find any information on that on its website. The only menu posted on the website is a la carte, with entree prices from $24-$32.

                                  Is the $35 menu offered every night? Are therechoices in each course? Thanks.

                                  1. re: y2000k

                                    Yes, the prix fixe is offered every night and actaully constitutes the bulk of the menu. There are at least six choices for each course within the prix fixe. The regular a la carte menu is about 3 or 4 options each, apps and entrees, they are the signature dishes of the restaurant, also very delicious. If you haven't been, go to EVOO, you won't be disappointed!

                                    1. re: y2000k

                                      When you look at EVOO's website you will notice that many items in each category have two asterisks after them. These are the items available on the $35.00 menu which is stated below. It is not obvious so I'm not surprised that you didn't see it. I would highly recommend EVOO.

                                      1. re: edgewater

                                        Thanks somervilleGM and edgewater. I see it now on the regular menu with the dishes denoting part of the prix-fixe menu. We will definitely go there when it's not RW - I agree there's really no reason to do RW when it's just a few $ more for the everyday prix-fixe.

                                2. Anyone else finding it hard to find a place that seems like a good deal (because that's the main idea of RW I think)? Many of these menus don't seem worth $33. I've just been browsing through but I keep thinking that when you add up the app, entree, and dessert of their regular menu, it wouldn't equal $33. Am I missing something here?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Suze123

                                    Grotto and Marliave basically offer their whole menus for Restaurant Week, which seems like a pretty good deal and I like the looks of Masa's menu.

                                    They all seem like pretty good deals to me - you'd be hard pressed to get three courses for $11 each at just about any of these places (with some exceptions).

                                    That being said, it seems like everyone all over town is offering discounted prix fixe menus so why wait til restaurant week and have to deal with crowds and harried staff. just go now...to Radius (3 courses for $45), Via Matta (3 courses for $40), Great Bay (3 courses for $35), Lumiere (3 courses for $35), Chiara, EVOO, 33...

                                    1. re: Suze123

                                      We went to Oceanaire for the last RW in 2008, and I think we got excellent value for our money. Particularly, the crab cake entree was enormous. I could barely finish one of the two on my plate - the other came home with me. They were almost entirely crab and ridiculously tasty. We also got the calamari appetizer which was not a huge serving but very good. We also went off-menu to get the hashbrown side, after seeing it on another table. It's a heart attack on a plate but what a way to go. I don't remember what we had for dessert, but that's probably because I was so full. The menu says that wines by the glass are a generous 8 ounce pour, and they weren't kidding. I had two glasses and was thankful for all the food in my belly which kept me on the comfortable side of tipsy.

                                      1. re: Suze123

                                        I do agree that many (most even) menus are not worth $33.

                                        However, a 3-course prix-fixe lunch at L'Espalier is usually $40 (or a $24 'power lunch') so $20 there is definitely a steal there. For dinner, I dine with a friend and we always share six unique options during RW. I could never do that for $66 at places like Excelsior, No.9 Park or Pigalle. Plus, my stomach would explode. So even though the portions are not full, its worth it to try that much variety. I look at it this way: to try two apps, two entrees, and two desserts for $66 is a deal almost anywhere. I usually only look at restaurants with a listed cost >$33 in my Zagat guide. Or, even easier, I use OpenTable and list the restaurants by $$$$ price.

                                        But as Cupcakes mentioned, MANY restaurants offer 3-course prix-fixe menus year-round. I'll add Lineage and EVOO, which I think are great places and their prix-fixes are gooddeals, so I wouldn't go during RW for that reason. I choose RW for places I've been wanting to try but have a hard time justifying because there is plenty of great food in Boston for cheaper. Also, I make reservations for non-peak times (early in the week and try to early evening.) I don't go to a place where the menu doesn't offer at least two of every course. KO Prime's RW menu is an example of a place I would NOT go because the menu is (personally) boring and offers only one dessert, even if its a good value to try $27 and $33 entrees.

                                        I understand arguments to avoid RW. But for me, its a deal on variety or a chance to try lots of high-end restaurants for less.

                                        1. re: globalgourmand

                                          Some good thoughts. Yes, places that offer pre-fixes on a regular basis I would definitely not go during RW. (My husband was a server for 5 years in New York, and he always avoids it like the plague.) I don't have any issues with it, so I'm taking him this year!

                                          1. re: globalgourmand

                                            those are some excellent points "global...." - there is a lot of pressure (for me at least) to like entrees if they are very expensive and sometimes the letdown is hard to handle. a $33 prix-fixe is perfect to explore and have some fun. very important to not have the same items though - defeats the purpose.
                                            on that note - some places seem more attractive for lunch as opposed to most places being good dinner options like Oceannaire etc. i am coming in for a full day in boston - staying at the omni parker house so I was wondering about the lunch recommendations. I saw L'Espalier mentioned a few times on other boards too - are there other recs for cant miss for lunch only?

                                        2. so opentable.com is letting me make reservations at restaurant week establishments on restaurant week days... are we good to go?

                                          1. Looks like Reservations are open today for the general public today.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: y2000k

                                              We agreed to reserve a spot for RW at Marliave for lunch and L'Espalier and Oceanaire Seafood Room for dinner. This should be fun!!