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Mar 26, 2009 11:55 AM

Restaurant Week-Why?

It seems like many people say Restaurant Week meals at restaurants are not very good. Why do people continue to go then? I understand there's a price difference of course, but if the food is bad, why do it? Are there any restaurants that do Restaurant Week the way it was meant to be?

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  1. I wonder the same I have never been to a restaurant during RW because some of the comments left about it make me unsure if I want to waste my time on a bad experience.

    1. Have you read the reviews? I'd say at least 3/4 of them have been positive or decent. That's why people go.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Joanie

        Yes, I have read the reviews, however, most of them I've seen have stated that the meals were either ok or not worth it. I haven't seen the majority being good reviews. I like the concept of Restaurant Week, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem like many places use it for what it should be. How many times have I heard things to the effect of restaurants picking lame meals to feature & nothing being spectacular. I don't think I'd go out of my way to take part in it based on what I've heard a majority of people say on this board and off this board.

        1. re: BackBayGirl

          I don't know, I just re-read the Winter 2009 RW thread ( and I count (yes, I actually counted) about 21 yays, 3 or 4 yays and okay with some issues, 5 fair to okay and 3 totally unhappy. Pretty good ratio IMO.

          1. re: Joanie

            I think what skews the perception is that there are usually a number of general inquiries like this on RW, and without reviews, a number of anti-RW crowd will usually chime in with "why bother" or "ugh...why would you want to do that?" type of responses. If you look at actual meal reviews, you are probably correct that RW reviews themselves aren't nearly as negative.

      2. I agree that many are not great deals and many restaurants will offer very limited menus or dishes with lesser ingredients than what they offer on their regular menu. That being said, if you view the RW menus on the RW website some offer very good menus and some offer the same items as their regular menu. For instance, to name a few, Oceanaire, Capital Grille, Ruth's Chris, the BC Club (which normally is not open to the public) and others offer for RW week, items off of their regular menu. I had a wonderful RW week dinner at Oceanaire last Saturday night a nd this Friday night I am going to the BC Club. My suggestion is check out the menus on the RW website and see what you think of the menu. Oceanaire did not have their menu on the RW website so I called and they told me the menu over the phone.

        1. I go to try places I wouldn't ordinarily go to. Based on my RW experience, I'll decide if I want to go back. (I know a lot of places do subpar RW -- to me, that's an indication that they don't care enough to make sure that every meal is good and people leave happy, so I'll avoid those during regular times too. Cheaper menu items and smaller portions for RW are totally fine with me, but not-so-good meals mean I won't be back.) I have had mostly good experiences with Restaurant Week.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Pia

            I agree - if a restaurant can't be bothered to put out a good meal, I know I won't go back. Serve me chicken, or pasta, or whatever's on sale that day, but make sure you cook it well and in a style that corresponds to your regular menu.

            I've had a number of RW meals that were excellent - this year at Radius (what a steal for $33!), Clink (I could eat that peanut ice cream all day), and lunch at the Melting Pot (an incredible amount for food for $20 - I know, it's a chain, but they actually do what they do well). In the past, I've had amazing meals at Excelsior and Davio's, as well as a really strong showing from Grotto. All of these places (except Excelsior now, obviously) are places I would return to because they took a stressful time (for them) like RW and made themselves shine.

            1. re: pamalamb

              We were at Radius earlier this week for RW. The generous hot serving of mini-potato gnocchi($3 supp) w/smoked bacon, brussel sprouts & pecorino was loaded w/flavor, light as a feather and truly comforting. I had a bite of the foie gras($12-$15 supp) & found it very buttery in consistency - DC was reminded of childhood liverwurst sandwiches she had everyday, lol. 2 of us had the pork & found it moist, pink & tender. The 2 who had the salmon were satisfied w/their choice, one ordering it especially for the mushroom fanatic in her. Had a bite of the grilled scallops &, altho they were perfectly cooked, we agreed they were way to salty. My chocolate/caramel dessert w/quenelle of spiced ice cream was just what I was hoping for and the goat cheese & huckleberry cheesecake was very rich. 2 were not blown away by the pineapple foster, served like a sunday in a stemmed glass - non-plussed by the crackerjacks. On the service: we were warmly greeted by the front of the house, who ferried our drinks from the bar to our table, when we were ready. Our waiter was one of the best I've ever had and was truly helpful, knowledgeable and honest with his suggestions. He had a great dry sense of humor, which had us cracking up. Timing was excellent throughout the meal with tablewear & flatwear cleared & replaced, water glasses refilled whenever needed and tablecloth frequently brushed of debris. I, for one, will be back.

              1. re: Taralli

                That gnocchi dish sounds heavenly, Taralli! Something that could be made at home (with store-bought gnocchi; don't think I could make them myself). Was there any "sauce" of any kind on the gnocchi dish?

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  It had a light, white, cheezy sauce that you could really taste the bacon in - like an elegant mac & cheese.

                  1. re: Taralli

                    OK, I just got major rumblies in my tumbly reading that. :-)

                    Now my next thing is to find some good fresh gnocchi that's light and fluffy - I'm thinking road trip to Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville is in order this weekend. (Does Capone's have gnocchi as well?)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I'm pretty sure Capone's has Gnocchi, but I haven't been there for a few months.

                      1. re: jjbourgeois

                        I quickly checked their websites yesterday after I posted the question; Capone's does; Dave's doesn't.

                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    This month's Saveur has a recipe for Barbara Lynch''s truffled gnocchi, and a gnocchi how-to...Surely you could tweak it to make this!


                    1. re: galleygirl

                      GG, you are a very good enabler, you know. ;-)

                      As for making fresh pasta, that's something I haven't tried...perhaps for lack of room in my kitchen (and two cats who are counter-jumpers that I cannot break them of). Plus, I don't have the roller attachment for my Kitchen Aid. So I do think store-bought is the way to go...but oh MY that recipe looks great! Thank you!

                      ETA: MasterCook has that calorie count as close to 800 calories per serving. Not that I *mind* eating my share of calories, but this is definitely one recipe to make for special occasions. :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I think you could probably do it with a stock, then some cream to finish it....

                      2. re: galleygirl

                        Great recipe to have. I would love to be able to make gnocchi like Lynch's (or in the same solar system at least) at home. This will also extend the usefulness of my potato ricer, a good thing when making those tough decisions about what to keep in a kitchen with limited storage. I use it more to make hash browns than mashed potatoes (for squeezing excess moisture out of grated raw potatoes, a crucial step in making crisp hash browns at home).

                        LindaWhit: your cats aren't even deterred by a squirt gun? That's pretty bold!


                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          Folks, we've moved a subthread about making hash browns at home to the Home Cooking board. You can find that thread here: Please keep posts here about finding great chow in Boston. Thanks!

              2. It's not just the food, it can be the service too. I was treated like dirt at one place, and it wasn't even busy. Too bad, because the back of the house did a good job in this instance.

                1 Reply
                1. re: junior coyote

                  the menu's online are not accurate. ive been burned twice now. never again a;lways call the restaurant directly if you want to know the menu