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2010 restaurant week


there's tons of restaurants here that i've never tried so feel free to input if there are any places you guys see that one should avoid or should take advantage of.

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  1. I 2nd this as a new transplant to New York. Seems like a lot of the places I know off of the top are only offering a special for lunch.

    1. daffyduck: are you available to dine during the week for lunch? If so, that opens a LOT of options.

      Restaurant Week is indeed a great IDEA but you need to be aware of the pitfalls:
      - don't expect normal portions of high quality ingredients like steak as a rule
      - huge crowds and rushed service: most well known and high quality places are slammed due to the extra diners, and there will be a higher percentage of diners who typically don't dine out that often
      - some restaurants cut corners by offering, say, only two choices per course -- chicken and fish, none of the signature dishes, etc.
      - getting shut out of reservations since you didn't call 28, 30, or 31 days in advance...many popular places book up as soon as their books up for that date
      - the *really* high quality and popular restaurants usually do not participate
      - participatings restaurants often already have a prix fixe deal that is in that price range: Devi, Tocqueville, a few of the Daniel Boulud restaurants like Bar Boulud, Cafe Boulud, Gotham, Aldea, etc. You could pay one price for the regular lunch prix fixe any other time of the year or you could save a few dollars and dine there with more people, a harried kitchen, fewer options on the menu....

      I've always had a good experience at any Danny Meyer restaurant like Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park (who no longer participates), Union Square Cafe, Bar Room at the Modern, etc. I also typically dine well during RW at restaurants who usually don't have a large lunch crowd but are popular for dinner. I really enjoyed Lupa, SD26, and A Voce. I've also seen reports where other CHers enjoyed Park Avenue Winter/Summer, Convivio, and Quality Meats.

      HOWEVER, a lot of Danny Meyer places have stopped participating (EMP) or only participate for a partial part of the Restaurant Week. The Danny Meyer restaurants who are doing the full RW are Bar Room at the Modern, Blue Smoke, Tabla, and Maialino.

      There have been MANY MANY threads on RW previously:

      FYI, for anybody who is reading this who doesn't know about RW: participating restaurants will be serving special lunch and/or dinner menus: three-course, prix-fixe meals for $24.07 and $35, respectively, not including beverages, tip or tax. Some restaurants participate only for lunch, others only for dinner, and others do both. Many of the restaurants will restrict participation to Monday-Friday (no weekends) and do lunch only. They're trying to drum up business on their slow days, and if a place is going to be full on a Friday night or Saturday night anyway, they don't need additional diners during those times.

      NYCGo holds the list pretty tightly until it's officially announced. They are the ones who run RW and don't let people know the full list until they want to. HOWEVER, although NYCGo says reservations "start" on on a specific date, BUT most restaurants open their books about a month in advance, so you can gamble and make reservations at places you THINK will participate, and then cancel later.

      Official site:

      Opentable page:

      Eleven Madison Park
      11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

      Gramercy Tavern
      42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

      Del Posto
      85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      A Voce
      41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

      Blue Smoke
      116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      3 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        I'm having RW Lunch at Nougatine! I was lucky to sneak in! Del Posto was already completely shut out by the time I checked it out. Any Nougatine tips? Also any hidden gems on the list that might still be free?

        -Nick F.

        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

        1. re: Nick F.

          I loved their shrimp salad and tuna tartare. Their slow cooked salmon is okay, but not all that exciting.

          1. re: Nick F.

            Del Posto has a year round prix fixe, BTW.

            Del Posto
            85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        2. I have enjoyed dinner at the bar room at the modern and also perry street in the past. EMP was my past favorite - i'm sad they aren't participating! This year, was thinking of trying spice market, maialino, maybe river cafe for lunch?

          1 Reply
          1. re: mc22

            I like Spice Market very much, but I had a terrible RW meal there. I normally don't care much about service, but our server was super rude, the food wasn't up to their usual standards, and hey didn't even bother to defrost the desserts - our tapioca still had ice crystals on it!

            I'd suggest going for a late lunch or off-hour dinner at another time and sitting at the bar that overlooks the open kitchen. They have some great noodle dishes for around $15, affordable small plates (which are their strongest items) and tasty drinks - you can make a night of painlessly without RW.

            For a JG bargain, I just had dinner at Nougatine, and the $38 prix fixe is an obscene amount of food. Two people could easily share a prix fixe and an appetizer. (As usual, it's the appetizers where they really shine.)

            Spice Market
            403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

            1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

          2. I'll be dining at Perry St, Le Cirque, Nougatine at Jean Georges and Fishtail by David Burke. Any thoughts or past experiences to note?

            In the past, I LOVED ilili for their creative dishes and generous portions, enjoyed Megu Downtown for delicious wagyu beef, although I left the restaurant still hungry, and was disappointed with my experience at the Bar Room-Modern.

            @mcc22-- I've never tried Spice Market for RW, but I've eaten there twice, and love it both times. The food is unique and flavorful, the service was great and the decor is dramatic and definitely a highlight. I went there both times with large groups, and loved dining family style.

            Jean Georges
            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            Spice Market
            403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

            Le Cirque
            151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

            62 Thomas St, New York, NY 10013

            1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

            4 Replies
            1. re: monamiestephanie

              I was disappointed to see that 11 Madison is not participating at all. I have reservatons at Butter, but haven't muster up the excitement to make reservations anywhere else.
              I think I am suffering from past RW fatigue.

              1. re: maria_nyc

                Now that EMP is a 4-star, why would you expect it to participate in RW? None of the other five 4-stars do.

              2. re: monamiestephanie

                I've had RW dinners at both Nougatine and Fishtail, loved both!

                1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

                1. re: monamiestephanie

                  We never do RW, but we had an excellent dinner at Fishtail.

                  Fishtail photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                2. i generally do not like the prix fixe menus for RW but I was able to score a res. to the modern bar room so ill try that out.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jester99

                    I love the Bar Room at the Modern and have found their RW menus just great, also good wine specials featured. The tuna tartare is out of this world, as is the hazelnut dacquoise dessert.

                    1. re: City Kid

                      thanks for the heads up, I saw they had sweetbreads on the menu and that made me happy

                  2. Here are my reviews on the first two restaurants I had a chance to try this past week...

                    LE CIRQUE
                    I was most excited about trying Le Cirque, but realized quickly that good service was reserved for non-RW diners, and left extremely disappointed and angry that I had wasted my money there.

                    We were initially seated by the bar instead of in the main room, probably because we "looked" like RW diners, and were only provided with RW menus. Our request to be moved to the main room was quickly met.

                    The watermelon and tuna bacon was unique but mediocre, and the brook trout was bland and its skin was soggy instead of crispy. The coconut mint pannacotta didn't taste at all of coconut or mint, likely because the sour berry sorbet overpowered any other flavors in the dessert. My fiance, a steak lover, ordered his steak rare, but it was served medium well. When he requested to have it sent back, the server tried to convince him that it was, in fact, rare!

                    Immediately after we finished our dessert, the servers made it very clear, making rude remarks, that it was our time to leave!

                    It was the worst RW experience I've ever had, and a complete waste of money.

                    LURE FISHBAR
                    I was drawn to this restaurant by their phenomenal RW menu, particularly their selection of 1/2 dozen oysters on the menu, and the experience exceeded my expectations greatly!

                    The restaurant's interior reminded me of that of a yacht, with beautiful wooden walls and floors and white leather baquettes. It was both warm and inviting as well as tasteful and sophisticated.

                    The oysters were fresh tasting and perfect. Unfortunately, they had run out of the branzino, which I had been eager to try, so I ordered the fish tacos, which I thought were good but not special, though my fiance loved them. My friend ordered the shrimp and grits, which were delicious! I loved that the smoky flavor of the sausage was infused in the grits. The chocolate cake was molten and a bit overwhelming for lunch, but the homemade ice cream sandwiches were unique, cute and tasty.

                    Service was great. We didn't have to wait to be seated or for our courses.

                    I would DEFINITELY go back again for dinner, and I've heard that they offer $1 oysters before 7PM normally! This place ranks as one of my top RW experiences ever.

                    Le Cirque
                    151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: monamiestephanie

                      Wow - actually we had a good RW experience there last year. But there were other people who complained about service, not being seated in the main dining room, etc.

                      I love Lure's oyster happy hour. I definitely recommend that!

                      1. re: monamiestephanie

                        I've been to Le Cirque for RW twice in the last two years and while the food was good, I too noticed a discrepancy in our treatment once the servers discovered that we were there for RW. It wasn't as overt as your sounds, but noticeable nonetheless.

                        On a happier note, the RW lunch at Milos is a nice bargain. I had the grilled octopus ($10 supplement), the whole grilled lup de mer and a delicious walnut cake with ice cream for dessert. The portions were generous and the quality was no different than other times I've visited. For appox $35, I thought it was a steal.

                        I'm heading to Park Ave Summer tonight and will report back.

                        Le Cirque
                        151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

                        1. re: chewbie

                          We did order some expensive wine along with the RW menu at Le Cirque - perhaps that helped with the service. Unfortunate, really shouldn't be that way.

                          We had a great meal at Park Avenue Winter last year. I hope you have the same - the menu looks great! Please report back.

                          1. re: uwsister

                            We also ordered expensive wine along with the RW menu, a $140 bottle for 4 that I didn't know about until after the bill arrived because it was my friend's friend that ordered it. I nearly let out a tear!

                            1. re: monamiestephanie

                              well i hope the drinkers split that one!

                            2. re: uwsister

                              Thanks uwsister.

                              Park Avenue Summer was very good. The place was crowded when we arrived and we did have a short wait for our table, but nothing inexcusable. My wife and I both had the grilled prawns with chickpeas and tomatoes. The prawns were huge, flavorful and nicely grilled. While I'm not usually inclined to order prawns when I go out, I read so many good reviews about these that I had to do it and they did not disappoint. For entrees, my wife had the dr. pepper ribs. The ribs were perfectly tender and fell off of the bone, however, they were sweet for my personal taste. My wife, however, enjoyed them very much. I had the veal chop and thought it was excellent. Great cut of meat on the bone, cooked medium (maybe could've been slightly less cooked) and very tasty. We also ordered a side of fries that were great. For dessert we had the banana parfait which was good but not great. I read some very positive reviews and had high expectations. The peach panna cotta was very good. Also noteworthy is that you can get select glasses of wine for $7 additional. I had the malbec and my wife the sauvignon blanc. Both were good glasses of wine and a relative bargain at $7 each. Overall, I would recommend PAS for a RW meal.

                              Park Avenue Cafe
                              100 E 63rd St, New York, NY 10021

                        2. I'm back again to report on the next two restaurants I had the opportunity to try:

                          FISHTAIL BY DAVID BURKE
                          It was possibly the best RW dinner I've ever had yet!

                          The hostess asked us whether we'd like to be seated immediately downstairs near the bar or wait 15 mins for a table in the main room upstairs, and we opted for the latter.

                          The RW menu was much more extensive than the one I saw online. In addition to having many more items on the RW menu, I appreciated that there were pricier items that RW diners could choose for a supplement.

                          The taco trio, which were 3 tacos each filled with cooked crab meat, raw salmon and raw tuna, tasted fresh. The slightly sweet and citrusy sauce that decorated the plate complemented the tacos well. The grilled river trout almondine was the smallest of all my group's entrees but surprisingy perfectly cooked and seasoned. I also shared the cheesecake lollipop tree with my fiance which was unlike any dessert I'd ever had and delicious! It reminded me of a Christmas tree except with chocolate and nut-encrusted cheesecake lollipops that potruded out of the tree. I thought the bubble gum-flavored whip cream was a bit strange but brilliant, and tasted exactly like bubble gum.

                          My friends also ordered the special roll, which was essentially a roll filled with tasty crab meat and wrapped with fresh tuna and avocado, and a heaping platter of the flavorful dry roasted angry mussels. Both were excellent!

                          They also ordered the pan roasted diver scallops, which were perfectly seared and served with the most divine foie gras raviolini and complemented with what I think were taro chips, the bay scallop carbonara, which was my least favorite, and reminded me of a mediocre mac 'n' cheese, and the swordfish steak, which was surprisingly cooked to perfection.

                          We all shared the fries, which were tasty, the tempura asparagus, which was disappointingly soggy, and the mushrooms, which were okay.

                          The service was excellent, and I loved the decor--bright red walls, pop art and a warm, inviting room.

                          I loved the experience, and would certainly return outside of RW!

                          PERRY ST
                          My favorite part of my experience was being in the restaurant itself. I enjoyed the clean, sleek, modern decor--white leather seats and simple light fixtures and tables--and I loved the way the sunlight from the floor the ceiling windows in the new, modern building beamed into the room.

                          I wished that the RW menu offered more--there were only 2 options per course. The heirloom tomato and fresh mozzerella salad featured unriipe tomatoes, unfortunately, and not so fresh tasting mozzerella, but I liked the tangy vinaigrette that dressed the salad. The slowly cooked cod was slightly overcooked, and the citrus ratatouille's flavors were bold, which I liked but my fiance didn't. I enjoyed the molten chocolate cake, but I loved the green tea opera cake that finished off the meal for everyone! It was delicious. I'd love to find out where to buy them.

                          My friends' crab dumplings were tasty, fried chicken was light, juicy and crispy and fromage blanc ice cream was refreshing.

                          The service was very pleasant.

                          My last RW restaurant is tonight, Nougatine by Jean Georges! Any suggestions on what to order? It's too bad they don't include the foie gras brulee in the RW menu, which I've tried at Jean Georges, and loved...

                          Jean Georges
                          1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                          1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: monamiestephanie

                            We're heading to Nougatine tonight too, we'll have to compare notes!

                            1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023