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Jun 30, 2009 06:22 AM

Summer '09 Restaurant Week - plans, reviews

Thought we might as well start a new thread for the season. Anyone already have their reservations/ plans of attack? Inside info on the RW week menus? Reviews/recommendations based on past RW experiences?

I thought it was pretty slim pickins' for dinner options, so I got two back-to-back Friday night ressies at the Modern (loved it for RW last time), and two Sunday dinner ressies at Convivio. I have one more Friday night reservation slot to fill (the last Friday), but don't know if I should hit up someplace else for variety. What about you?

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  1. oh and anyone notice that some of the old DM standbys (Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Union Sq Cafe) are absent?

    9 Replies
    1. re: janethepain

      I had made a reservation at USC during the RW period, and they called me to make sure I knew they weren't offering a RW menu.

      1. re: janethepain

        I thought I read somewhere that Gramercy Tavern will be participating but only for the first week. (This year summer RW is three weeks.)

        Re: EMP. Since the lunch menu is now regularly 2 courses for $28 -- true, more expensive than RW's 3 courses for $24, but still a bargain -- I'm guessing they don't see a need to participate in RW.

        1. re: RGR

          Gramcery Tavern is participating for the week of July 13-17. I called yesterday to grab a lunch reservation and they were completely full. We're on the waiting list, but now have a reservation at Park Avenue Summer.

          Should we look elsewhere?

          1. re: AriB

            I did Park Avenue Summer tonight and had a great meal. You can even have your first glass of wine for only $7!! That is a steal!

            ONE: I got the Caprese Ravioli. It was a perfect portion...3 plump raviolis stuffed with tomato and mozz, topped with arugala and watercress. There were small gelatinous pieces which if I had to guess were made from balsamic vinegar. i LOVED them. that made the dish for a perfect tang..

            TWO: One too many episodes of Top chef and I had to go for the Dr Pepper ribs. They were delicious!! The caramel sweetness was not too overpowering and went really well with the crisp peach slaw. Four fall of the bone ribs were actually a little much for me. I should have stopped at 3. The only part about the dish I wasn't as keen about was the peach in the slaw, the rest of the slaw was crisp and fresh and the peach pieces were a little mushy.

            THREE: I picked the rasberry sorbet and the basil ice cream. The dessert was ok for me. I'm not a big dessert person but I did enjoy my basil ice cream.

            Everyone else at the table really enjoyed their meal. The corn soup was the only dish that seemed to fall flat. Other dishes ordered and loved were ceasar salad, filet mignon, salmon, and the chicken. The banana parfait was raved about but I'm allergic to bananas so I had to pass.

            The waitstaff was perfectly cordial and attentive. Did not show any displeasure when all four of us chose the RW menu and checked up on us throughout the meal. Unlike many RW places, Park Ave seem to be prepared for their crowd and demand. Would recommend it and it's a steal considering most entrees at $30.

            1. re: kelea

              I did PAS on Wed. night and was not as happy with my meal. Ravioli way too al dente. The edges were hard and totally undercooked. I did not like this dish at all. The flavor was fine and I just ate some of the middle. The salmon and tomato tartare was delicious.

              The Dr. pepper ribs were fine but the lamb chops were much better. I really liked that and it was delicious. Note there is a $10 supplement for the lamb.

              My friend picked the cherry sorbet and basil ice cream which were both very good. My banana parfait was terrible, the components were fine but did not mesh well together and I barely finished dessert even though I saved room for it by taking some of the lamb to go. It was disappointing and I had a mini dessert when I got home.

              The service was quite poor. My friend had not even arrived and they brought out the amuse bouche and warm rolls to the table. A waiter came as soon as she sat down asking for drink orders and when she said she needed a minute to look at the wine menu he disappeared and never came back. It was about 15 minutes later that we finally asked for our waiter to take the order. By then we had our dinner order ready too. There were many waiters standing around so I am confused as to why the service was so poor.

              I definitely would not go back and was not impressed with the yellow and white decor.

              1. re: G3B

                We don't do RW, but even when it isn't RW, service at Park Avenue SummerFallWinterSpring can be problematical. The first time we had dinner there (Winter '08), service was excellent. Went back for Spring '08, and it was not so good, i.e., the case of the m.i.a. waiter. As for the food, everything I had the first time was excellent, while the second time, there were hits and misses.

                1. re: G3B

                  Sorry to hear...guess we had completely different experiences. we didn't seat till 915 and that might have helped as the dining room wasn't nearly as packed. it's always unfortunate when a resto cannot keep a consistent standard

                  1. re: kelea

                    we were there at 6pm and not full at all when i arrived but certainly packed on our way out. oh well hopefully my next RW meal at Matsuri will turn out to be a better experience.

            2. re: RGR

              I received an email from Union Square Hospitality and it indicated that they're doing a RW-like thing - one restaurant per RW for City Harvest, $24 prix fixe menu. As mentioned before, Gramercy Tavern is doing one week on 7/13-7/17, then it's Union Square Cafe on 7/20-7/24 and Eleven Madison Park on 7/27-7/31.


          2. I have lunch reservations at db Bistro Moderne. I haven't done RW in awhile but db Bistro is around the corner from my office and the menu looks very good. I also am considering Convivio dinner reservations on one of the Sundays.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pellegrino31

              Made a reservation at Convivio for Sunday dinner. It seemed like the only one on the list really worth trying (for dinner anyway)

            2. We have dinner reservations at The Modern, Le Cirque, Megu, and Aquavit. Husband doesn't like Italian and Mexican & all the other places we wanted to try only offer lunch (db Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud, Gotham Bar & Grill, etc.) and we get up way too late to eat out lunch. I haven't been to any of them & I'm super-excited to try them for RW. I hope they put some effort into RW menu. I'm not so worried about the Modern and Aquavit (read many good RW reviews) but for Megu and Le Cirque for RW, some reviews say fantastic, some reviews say horrible. Worth a try, I guess!

              1. Does anyone recall if the Modern changes its RW menu weekly? I have three Fri night reservations there since nothing else really jumps out at me.

                Am considering swapping one of those for 10 Downing for dinner though. Maybe Anthos? Aquavit Dining Room?

                2 Replies
                1. re: janethepain

                  I've done RW at the Modern several times (you realize it's the Bar Room, right?), and the RW menu is essentially a slightly pared down version of their regular menu (maybe 50-60% of the regular menu) which changes seasonally, but there is still a LOT of variety. You could probably eat there twice and not repeat any dishes, I am not sure about three times, though.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Yup, I had RW dinner last winter at the Modern (bar room). We all agreed it was great and a terrific value, especially since it really was quite a good selection of "regular" Modern choices. I remember there were quite a few dishes I had wanted to try, and partially due to the lack of better choices this time around, I just booked the Modern three times haha. Even if I have a dish twice because I liked it so much the first time around, I'd still think it's worth the $35.

                2. I'm trying out Michael White's restaurants: Alto and Convivio for lunch and Chinatown Brasserie. I've managed to nab a reservation for Gramercy Tavern lunch during its prix fixe period.