January 26, 2010
I still remember the day I found out about Restaurant Week in New York. I think at the time, I could sum up my nativity with the words "Where's Union Square Cafe?"...why a Google search was beyond my abilities still baffles me.
NYC Winter Restaurant Week fell neatly into the beginning of 2009 last year, just in time for my reluctant return to NYC and American dining. Anyone who's gone abroad for a significant amount of time and had a taste of ethnic dining knows that there are certain things that can't be replicated. In my case, I missed the leisurely, multi-course, quality ingredients found in Italian cuisine. I wasn't sure I could get an equivalent experience in the States, but Restaurant Week seemed like the closest I was going to get.
It really is a great deal: $24.07 (yes, arbitrary numbers!) for a 3-course lunch and $35 for dinner at restaurants where that price tag normally wouldn't even cover the entree. Sometimes the downside is that some joints don't exactly bring their A-game, whether that's due to the kitchen or the service. Quite a shame, because I thought the goal was to garner repeat customers.
So I stumbled my way through reservations, blindly picking whatever I could still get. Thinking back now, the surprise factor was pretty exciting. I ended up going to North Square, One if By Land, Two if by Sea, and Scarpetta. A few months later during Summer Restaurant Week, with more research under my belt, I visited Gotham Bar & Grill, Tabla, Park Ave Summer, and Barbetta. Of course, there were hits and misses, most of which I've documented on my list here.
And now, after a year of wandering, biding my time, and yes, pure Googling, we come again to NYC Winter Restaurant Week. On my list, I have Telepan, Petrossian, Convivio, The Modern, and Park Ave Winter. My work schedule no longer allows for leisurely lunches, so these are all dinners. Now after sharing my lineup, I hope to run into friends and strangers alike there. I'd be glad to chat Restaurant Week picks with anyone, so don't be shy. After all, it's our bi-annual time to whip out the nice dresses and indulge a little. Or a lot, if you have my appetite.