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Restaurant week 2011 musts and must nots

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Once again overwhelmed by the heady list of big contenders for restaurant week 2011. Definitely want to hit one or two up. Any advice on what should and should not be missed?

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  1. I skip them all. I hate restaurant week!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Blumie

      I agree. With all of the other deals that are available, Blackboard Eats, Groupon, etc. Restaurant Week is no longer the bargain it used to be.

      You don't get a good representation of the restaurant by eating off its RW menu.

      1. re: travpard

        I know some people like to hate on RW, but saying you don't have a representative experience is way too much of a generalization. For example, I have been to the Bar Room at the Modern several times during RW and have found it delightful and very representative of the food, service, etc. Same at Tocqueville and several others. Megu Midtown not so much. My main point: some (not all) great experiences to be had if you pick carefully.

        1. re: City Kid

          Tocqueville has a very reasonable prix-fixe all the time though. We're kind of on the same boat - even though we did have some good experiences, we decided to skip this time as we've tried almost everywhere we've wanted to try that participate in RW and others aren't worth it to compete for reservations, etc. as they either 1) aren't that expensive so RW isn't a "deal" or 2) have similar prix-fixe year-round.

        2. re: travpard

          I love groupon, inbundles, etc...but they hardly offer fine dining at Michelin Star restaurants.

          You can't argue that is not a great deal to get a meal for a total of $34 (tax and tip included) at a Michelin Starred restaurant, where normally an entree is close to that price.

          I agree with the last sentence...in some cases. But you can try out the restaurant to see if the food is good and if you would return.

          I like a mix of RW for upscale Michelin places and the discount sites for trying innovative new tries.

        3. re: Blumie

          I disagree. I love RW!

          I have been participating in summer and winter RW for YEARS and have had the opportunity to eat at soooo many of the city's best at great deals. I usually hit up several fantastic places each time and get to try out restaurants to see which I like, with limited financial pain.

          Yes, I agree that sometimes, unfortunately, the RW week menus are not indicative of their normal menus. That is unfortunate. It is also imperative to pick carefully. I laugh so hard to find restaurants on the list that normally offer $25 and $35 prix fixes. Or restaurants that you spend $35 or under on normally. But quite a few offers really good deals, and would cost way higher than $35.
          I also feel the deal should be more flexible and include the option to chose a drink instead of dessert.

          I spend a lot of time choosing. I booked all my tables months ago, predicting which restaurants will participate...because I know the best fill up quickly!

          RW is also good, because it gives me the chance to see friends twice a year that normally we are too busy to catchup. I sometimes book 4 nights of tables of 4, and get to catch up with 16 varying friends! It is an easy sell because once or twice a year is definitely do-able for those with Superwoman lives of fulltime mega-high-power-career and children and obligations. And the pals with limited finances can participate too (lots of unemployed pals, especially now!). Actually, a lot of my girlfriends and I actually look forward to RW as an excuse to catchup, and try great places at a great deal.

          This year I tried Aldea (WOW!), Rouge Tomate (yawn!), Maze by Gordon Ramsay (didn't like) and Shelly's Big City. I also signed up with AMEX for their RW deal ($15 off when you pay with your AMEX for 3 or more RW) and for a total of $110 whopping dollars, I was able to eat 3 course meals at four respected restaurants, and catchup with TONS of friends.

          A great way to start the year in my humble opinion.

          -----
          Rouge Tomate
          10 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022

          Aldea
          31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: chowsue

            Did you go to Aldea for lunch? Don't they have a year round prix fixe weekday lunch?

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            Aldea
            31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

            1. re: kathryn

              yes, lunch.
              Not sure about the year round prix fixe. I went during RW and it was amazing.

          1. I had made a reservation at SHO for dinner during RW on opentable...and then received a call from the restaurant asking if I was going to be dining on the "regular" menu or the RW menu.
            When I asked why, she explained that RW diners would be seated in a separate room.
            She assured me the room was "perfectly nice", but I told her to just cancel the reservation.
            I know there have been some great reviews, but it really put me off.

            I really liked a meal I had at Riverpark, and have decided to see what they'll do during RW.

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            Riverpark
            450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

            6 Replies
            1. re: David W

              Please report back about Riverpark's RW experience. I saw that they are participating at both lunch and dinner.

              1. re: ellenost

                I'll do so here-but note I'm not there until dinner Thursday of the 1st week.

                1. re: David W

                  I'll look forward to hearing about it anyway!

                  1. re: ellenost

                    An update to report on Riverpark.
                    The place was fairly quiet when I arrived but was pretty full by the time we left, despite the snow.
                    We were only offered the restaurant week menu, which contained many of the regular menu items (I think it was 8 each for appetizer and main course) with no supplemental charges.
                    We started with spaghetti and lobster in an olive oil/lemon/caper sauce and goose tortellini. The tortellini were earthy and were in a great broth (which I helped sop up with bread). The spaghetti was a terrific dish: the pasta cooked perfectly and the flavors balance just right.
                    Second courses were short rib ravioli and steak frites with an excellent dip that was somewhat spicy. The fries were very good, and I continued to steal them throughout the meal. The short rib ravioli were tasty as well, with a nice amount of short rib in the ravioli.
                    There were at least 5 choices for dessert, or cheese. We ended with beignets and the cinnamon panna cotta with rosemary ice cream. The beignets were good, but not quite up to the level of The Modern’s Bar Room version. The panna cotta was delicious, and the ice cream complemented the flavor very nicely.
                    Service could not have been more gracious-at no point in the evening did I feel we were receiving a lesser experience because of restaurant week. It was so good, and there were so many other dishes that I wanted to try, that I went home and made another reservation to eat there before RW is over. Very impressive.

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                    Riverpark
                    450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                      1. re: ellenost

                        Our second RW meal at Riverpark last night was also excellent.
                        My wife decided to get the spaghetti dish I had last week (still terrific) while I started with the squab mole - very nicely done squab in a very vivid sauce-a bit salty, if you don't care for that sort of thing, but I liked it.
                        I then had the pork chop, which was another big winner-and the Brussels sprout/apple that it came with was one of the better Brussels sprouts dishes I've had (still longing for the one's from Quilty's, but that's another story).
                        My wife kept with pasta, having a burnt flour gnocchi with cheese that was also quite nice, but not as good as mine.
                        We finished with the apple crisp and the chocolate tart with a citrus sorbet-both good, though nothing that special. I'm still thinking the cinnamon panna cotta is the winner from the desserts. Nice coffee, too.
                        And another pleasant evening-once again, good service, relaxed atmosphere-a very civilized place.

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                        Riverpark
                        450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

            2. Adour by Alain Ducasse, The Breslin, Rouge Tomate, Acquavit and Nobu are a few of my top choices

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              Nobu
              105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

              Adour Alain Ducasse
              2 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022

              Rouge Tomate
              10 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022

              The Breslin
              20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

              10 Replies
              1. re: alessandroacq

                When is RW 2011? Does anyone know about the list of participating restaurants, if so post it on chowhound. Thanks.

                  1. re: loratliff

                    A few years ago I went to Grammercy Tavern for RW lunch and it was amazing! Service was great, did not feel like a discount meal at all.

                    1. re: newsysuzy12

                      GT does not participate in Restaurant Week any longer.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        I had a RW lunch at Dovetail earlier this week. Service was great, food excellent. Very enjoyable all around. On a different note, I made a RW week Friday dinner reservation on opentable at A Voce Columbus. When they called to confirm, they noted that they did not serve the RW menu for dinner, except for Sundays. I asked why opentable would allow the booking, they said they've complained to opentable, but couldn't get them to program the system to reflect the correct schedule. OK -- that is understandable albeit unfortunate. But when the maitre d' (who by now had gotten on the phone) told me that if we only ordered appetizers and desert that we could probably get away with spending the same amount on dinner as a RW menu, I thought it was totally condescending. It went from being opentable's problem to being the restaurant's.

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                        A Voce
                        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                        1. re: jcooper

                          I understand that opentable isn't offering the most flexible booking model, and is misrepresenting the restaurant's RW offerings, so they are in an awkward spot, but their response to you sounds totally inappropriate.

                          1. re: InfoMofo

                            I've never been to A Voce, and have no connection with it whatsoever, but I don't get why their response was so terrible. The diner was upset to learn that the res they thought had been for a RW meal was in fact not, due to opentable's error. The MD then helpfully explained that it is possible for a diner to eat at A Voce without spending more than the RW amount. Sounds like he or she was just trying to solve the problem.

                            -----
                            A Voce
                            41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

                        2. re: kathryn

                          I think Suzy is just trying to illustrate that contrary to a lot of the posts here saying that the RW meals are terrible, there are some chefs who can surprise you by delivering an incredible meal and experience on a small budget.

                          Years ago I went to RW at Eleven Madison Park (they also no longer participate), and had an absolutely stunning meal.

                          In general RW can be somewhat of a nightmare, but there are some diamonds in the rough to be found.

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

                  2. re: alessandroacq

                    I think Adour and Breslin are not included in RW. FYI.

                    I did not enjoy Rouge Tomate.

                    Aquavit and Nobu are good choices IMHO.

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                    Nobu
                    105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

                    Rouge Tomate
                    10 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022

                    The Breslin
                    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                    1. re: chowsue

                      The Breslin did participate. I called to ask and they weren't taking reservations (per the usual policy there). Hence they weren't on the OpenTable page.

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                      The Breslin
                      20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                  3. I generally get dragged to doing some kind of restaurant week type of tasting and I think the only one that was pretty satisfying was the Modern Bar Room.

                    1. I think Dovetail always has one of the best RW meals as does Convivio. I wasn't too impressed with the Hurricane Club this week. It was just ok but didn't make me want to go back. Always interesting to see what route a restaurant takes during RW.
                      I remember fondly the years EMP did it.

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                      Convivio
                      45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                      Hurricane Club
                      360 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

                      1. I normally avoid RW, but went to Toloache last week and had a spectacular meal. The menu choices were excellent. Nuela also has a nice menu with a large selection, mostly from the regular menu, though some of the main courses carry small supplements.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rrems

                          We also went to Riverpark for RW last Friday, I was extremely impressed by the number of choices and the food was quite good. Had the Hamachi to start followed by the pork chop, which I agree was very good, followed by the apple crisp. DH had the mushroom consomme, then chicken (very good) with rice pudding, which he liked. Very nice room, great service, we will be back.

                          -----
                          Riverpark
                          450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                        2. After two dreadful experiences at restaurants that are much praised, Megu and EMP for restaurant week, l have stopped going completely. Yes, some were great as Del Posto was but too much risk.

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

                          Megu
                          62 Thomas Street, New York, NY 10013