For the cheapskate-gourmet, it’s better than Christmas: NYC Restaurant Week, when some of the New York’s best — and priciest — tables offer a three-course prix fixe lunch for $25 and/or a three-course dinner for $38. Of course, NYC Restaurant Week has expanded in every way since its inception in 1992; this year it runs from January 14 to February 8, 2013, Monday through Friday, with some of the 300 or so participating restaurants also offering Sunday lunch, brunch or dinner.
Over the years, I have developed a Restaurant Week strategy in which I target as many four-dollar-sign establishments as we can handle. Tops on my list is Nobu, where the food is always beyond compare and the Restaurant Week menu is generous and varied.
With more than 300 restaurants participating in Restaurant Week, it can be hard to pick one, so I usually choose places that I haven’t tried because they’re intimidatingly expensive.
If you’re not close enough to take a delicious bite out of the Big Apple, more than 30 cities throughout the United States and Canada have similar promotions, and many are starting soon. Find one in your area at the OpenTable site.
- San Francisco’s Dine About Town runs January 15 through 31 with 96 restaurants offering lunch for $18.95 and dinner for $33.95.
- Chicago Restaurant Week runs February 1 through February 10, with 224 restaurants offering $22 lunches and dinner for $33 or $44.
- Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Restaurant Week runs March 3 through March 9, with lunch priced at $15.13 and dinner at $33.13.
- Kansas City Restaurant Week is January 18 through 23, with lunch priced at $15 and dinner at $30.
In order to make reservations online, register first with OpenTable.com, where you will earn points for every reservation you make (and keep). The most in-demand restaurants tend to fill up quickly, so book as early as possible. While the online reservation system is quick and easy, if you can’t get the reservation you want, do things the old-fashioned way — just call the restaurant directly. There may be a cancellation and they may be able to fit you in, especially if you only need a table for two. And, as Julia Child famously said, “Bon Appétit!”
Photo by Nina Africano