Thursday, January 5, 2012

Restaurant Week Guide

 Restaurant week can be a crazy time of year. Some people love going around and finding great three course deals; other people hate it and think it’s a waste of time. I fall into the first category. I absolutely love the idea behind it and love the excuse to go out for a lot of great meals. However I have had some great and not so great RW experiences so I thought I would share a few tips I’ve learned over the years so hopefully your experience can be tasty and wonderful.


1. Research the menus BEFORE booking. Just because you’ve always wanted to go to a certain restaurant doesn’t mean RW is the time to do it. One of my first RW experiences I showed up at a place I had been dying to try out and there were only two entrée choices- Salmon and Mushroom Risotto. I’m allergic to salmon and at the time I was in a serious risotto funk. Obviously I did not enjoy my meal very much. The menus are there for a reason- check them out before booking.

2. Lunch is the best way to go. Most RW places have the same menu for both lunch and dinner or simply add a different appetizer choice at night with a higher price point. Paying $24 for three courses anywhere is a pretty good deal in my book. However when the cost rises to $35 I start to scrutinize if it’s truly worth it or not. I better not get a measly salad, pasta and sorbet when I could have a delicious Fontina Meatball and spectacular Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake from Gramercy Tavern at a lesser cost.

3. Speaking of Gramercy Tavern- Danny Meyer places are ALWAYS a good choice. Danny Meyer is a great restaurateur and he knows how to attract customers. He does RW right with great choices, spectacular service and usually a little something extra (ie. a gift certificate to come back again). His reservations always go fast so book early if you can.

4. Bring a friend. I tend to do a lot of solo lunches but during RW it’s much better with a companion. Each person can order a different option so more of the menu can be explored and many restaurants offer $24 bottles of wine as part of the deal too. This makes it a huge bargain! I’ve been solo and thought about getting a bottle myself since it's such a deal.  But that would make me a restaurant week lush not a restaurant week lady.

5. Treat it like a regular fancy meal- TWDW- tip well and dress well. If your going to a four star restaurant don’t show up in tattered jeans and a baseball hat. The guests in a restaurant become a part of the atmosphere- don’t ruin that for others. The same goes for service. If you have four star service don’t skimp on the tip. These waiters and waitresses are giving the same service they usually do for a lot less. Make sure they know you appreciate that.

So those are my tips. As I said every year is different so try some new places out. As for this years list I can tell you I’ve had fantastic experiences in the past at many of the places. You can see my entire list of past hits or misses by clicking on the link below. Hope your Restaurant Week experience is a great one!

Restaurant Week Meals

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