TGIF — It’s Flashback Friday and it’s been over six weeks since I’ve last posted here. Well, it’s restaurant week again and we are entering the last seven days of this high end eating on a budget event. This year’s restaurant week started on July 23 and ends next Friday, August 17.
Did you know that NYC restaurant week started 26 years ago to welcome the Democratic National Convention (DNC)? We all know who won the election. Anyways, back to food, NYC restaurant week started with 95 participating restaurants in 1992 to approximately quadrupling to 380 in 2018. This season, few restaurants in Brooklyn, Queens and even Staten Island are jumping on the bandwagon for this budget friendly opportunity. This season was disappointing because lunch/brunch meals are only two courses (appetizer with entree or dessert) for $26 and a three course dinner remains at $42.
After 3 weeks of thorough review of 317 menus out of the 380 restaurants, here are the logistics that are broken down into: best lunch, dinner and brunch for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5+ people. Our criteria is comparing what the restaurant is offering for restaurant week to their daily lunch/dinner/brunch menu; for example, if crudo is part of the regular lunch appetizer menu, we want to see if the restaurant is serving the same item on their restaurant week menu. Some restaurants are even offering parts of their regular as part of restaurant week, which is a great way to go.
We will begin with the total number of restaurants that are offering the best value meals for lunch, dinner and brunch based on our criteria.
Personally one of the reasons why I have yet to participate in this year’s restaurant week is because I am on a diet, which I will disclose at some point this weekend. Therefore, we created another table that breaks down the overall number of best value meals to accommodate the vegetarians, pescatarians, people in low carb diets (that’s me) and comfort (those who want to YOLO)!
Even though I am on a diet, I do plan to take advantage of restaurant week, which is easier said than done because there is no control of how the food is made. However, with the comfort meal types, the appetizers are either on the vegetarian, pescatarian and low carb side. The hard part is dessert, which in case, lunch is ideal, but due to my full time job, I can’t take advantage of the lunch offerings this season.
In the past, I have shared my experiences of eating at restaurants for restaurant week and if you need any ideas or suggestions, below is the list of places I have eaten at for past restaurant weeks:
Capital Grille at all three New York City locations (Grand Central, West 50s and wall Street) their 14 ounce bone-in dry aged sirloin steak is still being offered for this restaurant week. In addition from now until September 2, Capital Grille is also offering what they call a “Generous Pour”, which costs only $28 for a tasting of seven wines with the purchase of dinner. The suggestion for this restaurant week:
– Lunch for 1: Caesar Salad & Signature Cheeseburger with Truffle Fries
– Dinner for 2: Wedge of Bleu Cheese or Clam Chowder
Bone-In Dry Aged Sirloin Steak (14oz) w/ Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans
Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon w/ Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans
Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake and Creme Brulee
Fonda (Comfort Food) in the East Village has awesome happy hour specials, but for restaurant week it’s a good way to get four friends to get together for drinks and happy times. Check out my post on what the guacamole, enchilada suizas and dessert (morenitas).
Blenheim (Comfort Food) a Michelin rated restaurant offers a stipulation from my experience eating here two years ago. The menu changes frequently for the season, which makes it exciting. This season, a solo dinner is the way to go with the following: Fried Chicken, Pork two ways and Chocolate cremeux.
Tavern 62 by David Burke (Comfort Food) located at the beginning of the Upper East Side is one of the few restaurants that are utilizing their regular menu have new customers try their food and feel that they belong. They have great happy hour specials, where there are $10 burgers and $8 fries. Check out the pictures and previous write up about the transition from Fishtail to Tavern62 by clicking on the “Tavern 62 by David Burke” link. I do plan on returning to this restaurant because I feel welcomed but more importantly it’s a great deal for restaurant week and the customer will get their money’s worth.
Other restaurants I definitely want to try are the following:
Smith & Wollensky – Dinner for 4 – Comfort Food
Appetizer: Mixed Green Salad, Caesar Salad, Calamari, and Pea Soup
Entree: Filet Mignon, Lemon Pepper Chicken, Salmon Waldorf, and Pan Roasted Branzino
Dessert: Cheesecake, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Chocolate Mousse Cake and Coconut Layer Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
Barraca – Dinner for 2 – Pescatarian/Vegetarian
Appetizer: Ensalada de Mercado and Pulpo a Feira
Entree: Paella de Verdura (minimum 2 people) and Paella de Calamares
Desserts: Churros de Rellanos and Corte de Helado
In addition, offering a great $18 wine pairing deal for restaurant. They are also one of the few restaurants that are offering a three course lunch meal for restaurant week for $26. Plus, they have a great $6 happy hour menu from 4pm to 7pm.
Nickel and Diner – Dinner for 1 – Pescatarian/Low Carb
Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Chowder
Entree: Ginger Crusted Halibut
Desserts: Honey Semifreddo
In addition, they have a great happy hour menu from 3pm to 7pm.
Lugo Cucina Italiana – Lunch for 2 – Low Carb/Pescatarian/Vegetarian
Appetizer: Kale Mango Salad, Mussels Fra Diavolo
Entree: Salmone Al Forno, Eggplant Parmagiana
Although I may have disappeared here on my own site, but I am posting on my Instragram page: tablespoonsandteaspoons. Please follow me.
I will continue to strive to post more often here. Stay tuned….