NYC's semi-annual Restaurant Week is a great excuse to try new places without a huge price tag. My first Restaurant Week involved a dedicated trip to NYC from New Haven my junior year of college. I was a relative tourist to NYC, and even on a student's meager allowance, I was able to sample some of the City's finest. That same summer as an intern, Restaurant Week, again, was my only chance at haute cuisine. That first year, I tried Eleven Madison Park, Brasserie 8 1/2, Nougatine, Serafina, and more whose names escape me.
Restaurant Week began as a lunch-only promotional event in 1992 but expanded to its current incarnation with restaurants offering prix fixe lunch and dinner options in January of 2010. Since then, NYC Restaurant Week has returned twice a year (Summer & Winter) with dining deals at restaurants all across NYC. From trendy newcomers to some of the city’s most established fine-dining restaurants, the three-week event gives even the most budget conscious New Yorkers a chance to try out new places and revisit old favorites.
This year, more than 380 restaurants offer three-course pre-fixe dining deals for both lunch ($29) and dinner ($42). It will run from Monday, January 23, 2017, through Friday, February 10, 2017. Reservations open Monday, January 9, 2017 and can be made online.
These are some of my favorites, from that first restaurant week and beyond – take some time to try them out or find your own favorites this year! I promise your taste buds (and your wallet) won’t regret it!
1. Brasserie 8 1/2 (Midtown)
Address: 9 West 57th Street
Price: $29 Lunch or $42 Dinner Prix Fixe
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30am-10pm, Saturday 5-10pm, Sunday 11am-9pm
"This stylish French brasserie is just steps from Fifth Avenue on 57th Street. Chef Franck Deletrain deftly upgrades dishes from the brasserie repertoire, offering sophisticated French cuisine amidst original artwork by Léger, Matisse and others favored by the Louvre."
2. Bagatelle (Meatpacking District)
Address: 1 Little West 12th Street
Price: $29 Lunch Prix Fixe
Hours: 11:30am-4pm Monday- Friday
"Bagatelle's contemporary French cuisine finds its roots on two continents. The restaurant's talented Chef Nicolas Frézal breathes new life into the chic St. Tropez meets Paris inspired restaurant."
Seafood is a specialty here so try out the Crab Salad with Grapefruit and fennel, and Wild King Salmon!
3. Mayville (Nomad)
Address: 17 W 26th Street
Price: $29 Lunch, $42 Dinner Prix Fixe
Hours: Monday - Friday 12-3pm, 5:30-11pm
This "American whiskey bar and restaurant offers a menu of the smoked, grilled and charred flavors that have a natural affinity for bourbon. The restaurant`s namesake is the Kentucky port town from which whiskey was first shipped out of the state."
My personal favorites are the Smoked Brisket Papardelle and the Artic Char which has a bacon glaze.
4. The Stanton Social (Lower East Side)
Address: 99 Stanton Street
Price: $29 Lunch, $42 Dinner Prix Fixe
Hours: Monday - Thursday 5pm-12am, Friday & Saturday 5pm-1am, Sunday 11:30am-11pm
"Home to Celebrity Chef Chris Santos' trend setting multi-ethnic share plate menu, designed to offer guests a chance to experience multiple dishes and flavors throughout their meal 37. Enjoy French Onion Soup Dumplings, Crab Cake 'Corn Dogs' and Beef Wellington at this vibrant, 3-level space which often plays host to the city's most beautiful people."
Stanton Social is quite possibly the scene of my first encounter with Isabel, though neither of us knew it at the time. Isabel was a hostess there in 2009, and it was one of my favorite restaurants during that time period. She recommends the pineapple martini (not on the menu anymore, but she assures me any bartender worth his salt will know the recipe). Also, check out their "morning after" Sunday brunch - not a part of restaurant week but worth the experience especially with a big group!