It’s that time of year again: New York’s “Restaurant Week” — in quotes because it’s more like three weeks, Feb. 17 through March 7 — where restaurants across the city offer discounted fixed-price meals, $28 for lunch and $38 for dinner.
But not all Restaurant Week specials are created equal. In choosing which spots to hit up, it pays to consider the strengths of each restaurant and of their featured menus. Will you have enough choice? Will there be options for, say, a vegetarian in your group? Does the menu represent a real value, compared to the restaurant’s usual offerings? And, of course — how good is the restaurant itself? All key questions to consider, and we’ve done some of the considering for you. Here are five restaurants to hit up for Winter Restaurant Week. See the complete list of participating restaurants.
The Marrow (dinner)
We’ve had great experiences with chef Harold Dieterle’s restaurants during Restaurant Week, and Perilla and Kin Shop will participate this year, too. But we’re eyeing up the menu at The Marrow, Dieterle’s newest restaurant with an Italian-German bent. Start with steamed bouchot mussels or a roasted sunchoke soup; follow it up with sautéed skate wing or grilled country-style pork rib chops. 99 Bank St., 212-428-6000, themarrownyc.com
Blue Smoke (lunch and dinner)
Danny Meyer’s barbecue joint is more casual than the other restaurants on this list, but when a prix-fixe menu can get you smoked trout or Memphis-style baby back ribs, along with their excellent all-American desserts, it’s still an excellent deal. (And it’s easy to have a great time at either Blue Smoke location–should you prefer your Restaurant Week meals without a white tablecloth.) Multiple locations, bluesmoke.com
Resto (lunch and dinner)
Belgian fare and beer are the specialties at Resto, and in addition to the prix-fixe meals, they’re offering beer or wine pairings for just $15–an excellent value, especially given this restaurant’s deep knowledge of both. The only question: would you prefer your Curried Moules with Belgian witbier Blanche de Bruxelles or a glass of Riesling? 111 E. 29th St., 212-685-5585, restonyc.com
Riverpark (lunch and dinner)
This excellent East River restaurant from Sisha Ortuzar and Tom Colicchio wins the Restaurant Week award for the most varied menu — choices at both lunch and dinner span their raw bar and salads, pastas and entrees. (A few premium items are available for a supplement, if you fancy grilled rack of lamb or braised short rib.) On the dinner menu, it’d be hard to resist the buffalo milk buratta with heirloom squash, cocoa spiced Pekin duck, or the roasted bone-in monkfish. 450 E. 29th St., 212-729-9790, riverparknyc.com
Bar Boulud (lunch and dinner)
All of Daniel Boulud’s venues put on a good showing at Restaurant Week, and since his refined French fare doesn’t come cheap, the prix-fixe menus are an excellent way to experience every one. At Bar Boulud, a lunch might start with a country pate and continue with housemade pork sausages and a coconut dacquoise; a steal for $28, though they may have to roll you back to the office. 1900 Broadway, 212-595-0303, barboulud.com