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Feb 18, 2014 07:05 PM

Restaurants during Restaurant Week where you actually get a good deal?

I will be in New York during Restaurant Week. Any recommendations? If it is anything like San Francisco's Restaurant Week, I would like to avoid restaurants where the "special" is less of a deal than the regular menu.

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  1. Given that you're from SF, it probably doesn't surprise you that many excellent NYC restaurants don't participate in RW any more. And many cut corners, don't serve their signature dishes, etc.

    Reservations already opened for NYC RW and the best choices may already be fully committed.

    Are you free for weekday lunch?

    Look for ones that do a ~$30 prix fixe lunch year round such as Tocqueville and Gotham Bar & Grill. See this link:

    Maialino is also good but they've served the exact same RW menu each year/season so it's a little boring for those who live here.

    Riverpark is one of the best. They have a somewhat inconvenient location by the river (but are excellent), so their location is probably is one of the reasons they participate.

    Also be sure to compare the RW menu to the regular menu at any restaurant so you can tell if they are not serving signature dishes or cutting corners.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      +1 for Riverpark. It's the only RW restaurant we bother with.

      Toqueville is great, but I would avoid going there during RW, as it will likely be packed with rubes who don't know they can get the same deal all year, and food and service may suffer.

      1. re: rrems

        Totally agree on Riverpark, done RW there several times and will go again. I don't know why people feel it's so inconvenient...east of First Ave. on the East River, not such a big deal. Great choices, regular menu, albeit with more surcharges for some items this time.

      2. re: kathryn

        Thanks for the great suggestion of Riverpark, beautiful restaurant.

        Had the cocoa spaccatelli, squid ink chitarra, Piedmontese ribeye.

        The spaccatelli was delicious, toothsome, hearty with pork ragu, sweetness of apple was balanced with the bitter notes of cocoa.

        Squid ink chitarra was bright, the lemon and flavors were reminiscent of the tagliatelle at NoMad, but I prefer the chitarra because it's less greasy than the dish at NoMad.

        The Piedmontese rib eye was a generous portion of meat, nicely charred, mineral, well-marbled. The potatoes were delicious, roasted, flavored with beef drippings and fat. My only complaint was the chimichurri was inexplicably bland.

        For dessert, beignets were more like mini fried churros, a little crunchier than I am used to. The chocolate dip was a little runny for my taste but the vanilla custard was very good.

      3. The Dutch, Lincoln, Maialino and David Burke Kitchen let you choose dishes from their regular menu instead of making a RW menu with simpler and often worse dishes like many others do..
        Casa Mono is usually pretty good and I think it's their first year in RW.
        Perry Street or JoJo are good but like Toqueville and David Burke Kitchen they have Prix Fix lunches all year round anyway..

        1 Reply
        1. re: alepenazzi

          I just checked the RW site. From what I see Lincoln and Maialino are not just letting patrons pick whatever they want from their regular prix fixe lunch menus. Both are doing much smaller prix fixes for RW and have some dishes on their RW menus aren't even on their normal lunch menus.

          Just looked at Casa Mono's menu... Not impressed, selections seems boring compared to some of their signature dishes.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Agreed; been there, done that. Learned my lesson.

            Ryan Sutton had a good blurb on RW just recently. It was spot on, to a great extent. HIs point about how you get served a tiny uninteresting dessert "thrown in," that you never would have wanted and most likely never would have ordered, while still paying for it, was too true. Many restaurants have lunch deals all week - aim for those. Or pick and choose what you really want from the lunch menu.

            1. re: comiendosiempre

              For the "uninitiated" I think RW is a good way to get exposure to restaurants one would not ordinarily go to. For most people on CH though, RW is like going back to 3rd grade when you really should be getting your master's degree.
              From the wording of his/her post, sounds like the OP is looking more for what NYC really has to offer and not RW.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                We are also coming into Manhattan during RW, but absolutely inadvertently so. I have already made the "important" reservations, but how badly will most places be impacted? I have no desire to be surrounded by "rubes" looking for "free" meals on my annual trip to the dining mecca that is New York! Will it be impossible to get a seat anywhere RW is being offered?

                1. re: BHS

                  RW restaurants may not participate in both lunch and dinner, and Saturdays are excluded, Sundays are optional.

                  What places did you book at and for what meals? A fair number of restaurants only participate for lunch.

                2. re: ttoommyy

                  Disagree with TTOOMY's generalization. As a life-long New Yorker I've been to many of the best restaurants in the City, on and off RW, and had good and less good experiences. RW can be disappointing and, as pointed out above, it's good to do a little research on what is offered and reviews. But some, most notably Riverpark, are stand-outs by any measure. To the OP I would say that during RW restaurants may indeed be filled with those taking advantage of it (some only offer that menu) though I wouldn't assume you will be surrounded by "rubes" seeking "free meals :) Some of the best are likely already filled or close to it.

            2. I did enjoy a RW lunch at Maialino a few years ago. Sure, they don't serve their most "exciting" dishes nor do they change up the menu as Kathryn noted, but it was very good and if you're visiting, I'd certainly recommend it. I've also had good RW experiences at Lupa and EN Japanese Brasserie, both for lunch.

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