By Melissa Limberg
Oh hello, Full Access fans! It’s a new year, but NYC is the same great city. Here’s a cheers to 2013 being another year rife with good eats and sassy reviews. Lucky for the internet world, I’ve already had some delicious culinary awakenings that I can’t wait to share. Did I happen to mention its NYC RESTAURANT WEEK?! Yes, party people, its restaurant week! Yippee!
“WHAT IS RESTAURANT WEEK, MELISSA????” – said the new-to-towner and/or person living under a rock. “I’m glad you asked!” I say! RW actually takes place from January 14th-February 8th (ya, way longer than a week… but such a blissful form of false advertisement!) and it features some of Manhattan’s top name culinary cathedrals. The name of the game is to get patrons to fabulous places that perhaps they may not be able to afford otherwise. Each place chooses a prix fixe menu that includes a starter, a main, and a dessert – all for only $29 if you do lunch and $38 for dinner. The choices are pretty good selections from the menu, and do a great job of demonstrating what kind of talent they are hiding back in the kitchen. The choices also whet the whistle to make you crave a return visit… very crafty, RW!
As I’ve said before, “With great power comes great responsibility…” and that means choosing the right restaurant week hot spots. And now, I present to the reader a restaurant week survival guide.
Rule #1: Think of the top five places you’ve been dying to try but haven’t wanted to spring the cash for… THEN: Bring yourself over to www.nycgo.com/rw for a complete list of participating establishments. They have a fantastic little filter that will help you narrow down by cuisine and neighborhood. As an added bonus, many have menus posted so you can do a little pre-dining deciding. (Trust me, choosing my dinner is bigger than voting for the president.) DON’T discount the restaurants who haven’t posted their menus… it’s easy to discriminate, I know.
Rule #2: If a restaurant is participating in RW, but only offers lunch… it’s probably REALLY, REALLY EFFING GOOD. Bar Boloud, Rouge Tomate, uptown Fig & Olive, David Burke Townhouse… all are lunch only participation. My recommendation is to take the day off work if need be to get in and eat that lunch! (Well, don’t get fired… but this is a helpful hint.)
Rule #3: Make time to try two or more, why not? Last year I was out of town part of the time, but was happy to fit in two stops (Mercer Kitchen and Steak Frites). Remember, a three course meal at a really nice restaurant for $38 is basically winning the lottery!
Rule #4: I am a firm believer that one of your RW picks should really be outside of you gastronomical comfort zone. Just two weeks ago, I ate ham-hocks against my better judgement and it was DIVINE! I could have written a book about it! So, let this be a time where you challenge your palate and open up your horizons. Even if you don’t like your first course, you can wash it down with your second course 😉
Rule #5: ENJOY!