Who doesn’t love going out to eat? You get to have an expertly-prepared meal. Try out a new cuisine or dish that you wouldn’t attempt at home, and you don’t have to do any dishes when you’re finished! But, one of the downsides to eating out is that it can be quite expensive. And doing so on a regular or weekly basis can really put a dent in your budget. There can be trouble if you’re someone who loves food but also wants to stay on budget. How can you still explore the thousands of restaurants located in New York City?
Enter Restaurant Week, which was created to allow diners access to both new and established restaurants for a reduced price. Restaurants create a special menu for a set period of time to attract new customers. These customers may not have had a chance to try their food in the past. With over 24,000 restaurants in New York City, there’s no way that one hungry eater could tackle them all! With the help of Restaurant Week, a true foodie would be able to dine out multiple times during their visit to New York City without breaking the bank. Here at Gosur, we’ve created the ultimate guide to New York City’s restaurant week. So you can give your taste buds a one-two punch without KO’ing your wallet.
History of Restaurant Week
Flashback to 1992, when Nirvana was at the top of the charts, cell phones were still as large as a brick, and Bill Clinton was about to enter office. This is the year that restaurant week first emerged. The brainchild of Tim Zagat (founder of Zagat Restaurant Guide) and Joe Baum (famed NYC restaurateur.) As the Democratic National Convention was descending upon NYC for a week, they knew that there would be a cadre of hungry out-of-towners. many of whom were reporters searching for new places to dine. The result was the very first Restaurant Week, which was a runaway hit. Now offered more than once a year, and often extending up to a month. Restaurant Week has spread to dozens of other cities across the United States. As a way for restaurants to bring in new customers and offer specials for their regulars.
How Does Restaurant Week Work?
During Restaurant Week, participating businesses will promote a special lunch or dinner menu at a prix fixe price. “Prix fixe” means “at a fixed price”. And you’ll find that all participating restaurants keep the same price points. So there are no surprises when the bill comes. For example, you may be able to order a 2-course lunch for $26 during Restaurant Week. But you have to order the dish as it is presented on the prix fixe menu. Some restaurants suspend their normal menu during Restaurant Week. While others offer it alongside their prix fixe menu. For the summer 2018 NYC Restaurant Week, the prix fixe prices are $26 for a 2-course lunch, and $42 for a 3-course dinner.
Not sure where to begin? We’ve dissected the best of NYC Restaurant Week’s menus. Classified by cuisine so you can dig in and decide where you want to head next!
Restaurants in this category don’t stray from the classics. You’ll find old-school decor, tried-and-true dishes, and nothing experimental. A former speakeasy in Midtown Manhattan, the 21 Club is recognizable from the 35 multi-colored jockeys that line the steps and entrance to this five story restaurant. If you’re looking for a sophisticated, elegant meal, their decor and menu will not disappoint. Your Restaurant Week menu choices can include homemade smoked salmon, honey-mustard roasted chicken, and lamb bolognese.
If you’ve got a chance to eat at one of New York City’s finest steakhouses, Delmonico’s Restaurant Week menu should move to the top of your “must-dine” list. As soon as you enter the dining room, you’ll be transported back to the days of old-school glamour and wealth. You can find Delmonico’s famous blue crab cakes, BLT wedge salad, and 18-hour braised BBQ short ribs on the menu. Don’t fret, their world-famous steaks are on the prix fixe menu as well. Please note that there is a surcharge for their in-house aged beef.
Lower Manhattan’s Palm Tribeca is memorable for more than the famous celebrities drawn on its walls. This classic steakhouse offers filet mignon and a Prime strip steak as the stars of its prix fixe Restaurant Week menu. With the option of a classic New York cheesecake for dessert.
If you’re looking to taste a meal that reinterprets familiar concepts and dishes in new ways, these New American restaurants will give you a chance to venture outside the traditional box. Want to try a restaurant owned by a “Top Chef?” Tom Colicchio’s Craft lets you sample a prix fixe lunch menu that can offer seasonal soups, fresh chilled seafood, crispy pork belly, and their signature Craft burger. The mantra at Craft elegance with farm-fresh ingredients, which are highlighted by the Restaurant Week menu. At Acme, located on Great Jones Street, you’ll find upscale French and Italian menu items such as chicken Milanese or salmon with beurre blanc that are made and updated seasonally to reflect fresh flavors.
Mission Chinese Food is the NYC outpost of famed chef Danny Bowien’s San Francisco restaurant. Stop by during Restaurant Week to sample what put this restaurant on the map with dishes like green tea noodles, Chongqing chicken wings, and “mouth numbing” mapo tofu. A culinary rockstar in his native China, Chef DaDong has opened an eponymous restaurant east of Times Square. At DaDong, you’ll get to taste dishes like squid ink soup, black pepper Wagyu, and truffle-braised porcini. That look at taste nothing like the Chinese food you get from your neighborhood takeout joint.
Located in Greenwich Village, Il Mulino has served upscale Italian food for the past 30 years. Their Restaurant Week menu is lunch only, but you’ll be treated to their house specialties. This includes eggplant rollatini and pollo piccata. The restaurant’s philosophy is simple, clean, and elegant. Both its decor and presentation. If you want to have a great Italian meal in the heart of Little Italy, check out Grotta Azzurra restaurant on Mulberry Street. Names after the Isle of Capri’s famous Blue Grotto, their prix fixe menu also focuses on seafood. Seafood ravioli, tilapia Fiorentina, and mussels brandy all pay homage to the coastal delights of the Amalfi region.
You’ve probably heard of the famous Japanese restaurant Nobu. Which is studded with celebrities and socialites. You may have thought, “I could never afford to eat there!” During restaurant week, Nobu in Lower Manhattan offers a lunch-only Restaurant Week menu that allows even regular diners to tuck into their famous black cod and sushi offerings.
Sure, you’ve had tacos before, but have you ever bitten into a pastrami or octopus taco? At Empellon in Midtown Manhattan, your prixe fixe dinner menu has both of those options available. as well as the choice of some uniquely sweet desserts. Such as the tequila barrel ice cream with caramel. If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food that is what’s served in Mexico City, chef Roberto Santibanez’s Fonda mixes traditional dishes cooked with 5-star flair. Their restaurant week menu features enchiladas de mole negro Oaxaqueno, a laborious dish with a black mole made from over a dozen ingredients.
What’s a trip to NYC without experiencing a slice of ‘za? While you can grab any old slice on every corner. If you’re looking for some elevated pizza creations, go to Obica Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina. Their prix fixe offering of porcini pizza with Quadrello di Bufala. (water buffalo’s milk cheese) highlights some of Italy’s most prized ingredients. Stella 34 Trattoria’s Midtown location goes back to basics with their heirloom tomato pizza featuring Gaeta olive oil and Sicilian oregano. The result is a simple and delicious pizza that tastes both familiar and modern.
New York City’s Restaurant Week has grown from a 90’s experiment to a bi-annual event that draws in thousands of new customers. This is the perfect time to try out a new type of cuisine. Or nuzzle your way in to a restaurant that would otherwise be out of your price range. Since Restaurant Week is both affordable and highlights a restaurant’s best or most well-known dishes, you are truly getting a lot of value for your dining dollar. Bon appetit!