here it is, the week that lasts month that we love to hate. long gone are the days where we could order off the dinner menu, now it’s mostly some form of salmon, pasta and chicken breast.
any places worth a reservation? we always try a place or two…
The USHG menus look pretty good to me. If you want to drop $45 on lunch.
The price point makes it not so much a deal anymore, especially for dinner with limited choices.
I was thinking about Sona, but the lunch menu isn’t terribly appealing (and dinner seems overpriced for the choices).
I am mulling over the “new” Lincoln - they had a great RW lunch in the past, but I haven’t been back at all since they reopened, so let’s see.
@small_h Re: USHG restaurants. And that’s $45 for only two courses, appetizer and main!
I don’t think there are any bargains. RW has been disappointing for at least 10 years
I suppose that’s a strategy. In any case, we don’t do RW.
I used to have quite a few Restaurant Week meals. 20+ years ago. San Domenico and RM were standouts. San Domenico treated our party (four women in our mid-20s) like we were there for a special bat mitzvah lunch, but somehow it was adorable instead of annoying.
imo, five years ago, with some digging, there were still some interesting menus/bargains. Lincoln Ristorante allowed one to order off their menu, we had two wonderful meals at le coq rico, a very good lunch at abc kitchen, Vinatería, which is in our rotation, had a wonderful rw menu.
much tougher now, still, I’m thinking there’s a bargain or two to be had out there…
Restaurant Week meals have become too freewheeling, I guess due to the pandemic and inflation issues. Several RW promotions going on in the New York metro area simply let the restaurants do what they choose, like the one happening right now in Mount Kisco, Westchester County.
The same sort of thing happened at Toronto’s copycat event, called Winterlicious and Summerlicious.
From many restaurant and restaurant workers’ perspectives, it became a week when people who normally didn’t dine out showed up for prix fixe menu bargains. It was a chance to try a fancy restaurant for $45 at dinner time.
Most menus became a choice of salmon/chicken / veg.
Service was often worse, partly because it was busier, and partly because servers didn’t expect bargain hunters to tip well. Servers complained customers were bad tippers (many probably were).
Then portions got smaller, because many restaurants had to watch that margin. I’d say a few even gouged their diners.
I think the value at these Restaurant Weeks is usually found at newer places hoping to attract new clients, and occasionally found at a few restaurants that see the week as marketing, rather than a way to squeeze out some bucks during a slow month.
I’m still willing to try a couple meals.
I don’t think I’ve done restaurant week since some time before my mother died (2010). I also remember my best restaurant week meals as ones I splurged on: I went to the predecessor of Scarpetta that used to be on Sutton Place (I think it was called either Imperia, L’Impero or something similar) and sprang for their normal $44 lunch prix fixe instead of their $20-something RW meal (my meal included the duck/foie gras ravioli). I went with the same friend to Union Pacific for dinner only a few weeks before they closed, splurged on a $69 wine (a lot that long ago, when a lot of wines were $35 a bottle, I think), and we were served extra little courses because we had a great conversation with the waiter about the food and showed our knowledge and appreciation, I think. We couldn’t figure out why the place got panned and were sad when it closed. Otherwise, I remember a great RW lunch at a fancy-decor New American place on like 21St. St. between 5th and 6th whose name I can’t remember (I feel like it was something musical like Madrigal? I later took my parents and brother there for dinner and wasn’t as happy - it was perfectly good but a bit merely buttery and sort of typically upscale, not as great as lunch, surprisingly), a couple of tasty RW meals at River Park and a couple of good RW meals at The Modern (at least one of which was at the Bar Room). I went to other places but either don’t remember them or found the experience disappointing, like my RW experiences increasingly became, until I just stopped having them.
l’impero was in tudor city, went there for a wine industry dinner before the gushing time’s review, connant pulled out all stops, one of the best meals i’ve ever had. he came out at the end of the dinner and the 30-40 of us gave him a standing ovation, the food was that good.
we also had some good meals at riverpark but it was a hike!
You are taking me back with Union Pacific and L’Impero! My sister and I went to UP for the first of our (now 25ish) annual Christmas Eve dinners. As for why UP got panned, I think people just don’t like Rocco DiSpirito.
Re: Union Pacific being panned. Not true. I just did a quick search and found that Ruth Reichl, NY Times restaurant critic at that time, awarded three stars. And I don’t think she was alone in her assessment vis-a-vis other critics. We certainly concurred as our first dinner there was seriously delicious. A couple of subsequent dinners weren’t as stellar. My recollection is that it was later on, after he opened the Italian restaurant on 22nd Street, that he began getting negative reviews and press.
We loved L’Impero. Ate there many times as well as at Chef Scott Conant’s next restaurant, Alto. In fact, we’ve always made it our business to dine at all the restaurants he’s helmed because we loved his food.
Huh. Then I wonder what @Pan is referring to.
I think @Pan was just mistaken.
I did a bit more Googling. UP was open from 1997 until 2004. Things did not end well there for Rocco. He was dismissed several months before the closure. Couldn’t find anything about the reason.
So my friend and I must have eaten there in 2004. They weren’t panned that year? It’s possible that the reason I felt like I remembered that was instead that people on eGullet warned me they were not doing well and they wouldn’t go, but it was a great meal!
Could the place with the musical name I wasn’t sure about have been called Aria? I feel like I may have had some kind of seafood dish with citrus as part of my RW lunch there, but I could very easily be confusing that with a different meal somewhere else; it’s a long time ago.
As I said in my post upthread, Rocco was dismissed a few months before they closed in 2004. Perhaps, that’s what the eG folks were referring to. What I didn’t mention is that Chef Laurent Tourondel replaced him for the duration. Tourondel is a talented chef. So, if you went during his short tenure, no surprise that your meal was excellent.
Laurent Tourondel’s Cello?