Showing posts with label Restaurant Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Restaurant Week. Show all posts


Another Successful Restaurant Week

Every year, twice a year, restaurants in NYC expand their menus and welcome in hoards of adventurous diners looking for an excellent meal that's light on the wallet. These are two of my favorite times of the year, for Restaurant Week (which is really two weeks that gets extended an additional month...but who's really counting?) gives me the opportunity to try those restaurants I can never afford and sample menu items that I so often salivate over. 

This year, some coworkers and I continued our tradition of going out for a Restaurant Week lunch. We settled on Wall & Water in the newly-opened, swanky Andaz Hotel on Wall Street. I prefer going out for lunch than dinner for these meals as you definitely get more of a bang for your buck and it's such a treat to have a three-course lunch.

Finding the entrance to the restaurant was slightly more confusing than I would have liked, however, upon ascending the beautiful staircase to the main restaurant we were warmly greeted by the hostess and promptly shown to our table. The decor of the restaurant is beautiful. It doesn't feel like your typical "hotel restaurant," rather it's coated in a chic yet relaxing navy hue and is connected to an open kitchen. I liked watching the chefs at work as we enjoyed our meal.

In addition to bread, we were offered complimentary roasted artichokes with a delicious creamy dipping sauce. The best part about the artichoke, other than the fact that I was able to show my fellow diners how to cut through to the heart, was the fact that our waiter brought more as soon as we finished the first two. For my official appetizer, I ordered the burrata cheese served with mission figs and marinated onions. Wow, what flavor!! Burrata is one of my favorite foods maybe ever, and this dish presented it in a way that made me exceedingly happy and satisfied.

Burrata Cheese Appetizer
For the main course, eight out of nine of us ordered the steak and one person ordered the young chicken entree. While the flavors of my steak were good, I ordered it medium and it came fairly well-done. I'm not one to send food back unless it's truly inedible so I still enjoyed it with a squirt of grilled lemon and some roasted potatoes and tomatoes.

Steak Entree

Dessert was a course that I was very impressed with. I decided to go with the berry crumble with a bourbon creme anglaise and when it arrived at my plate, I was tickled with excitement. The warm and gooey center combined with the buttery and flakey crust so well and the sauce drizzled over added even more delicious flavor. I also tried the apple pie with ice cream that a coworker ordered and I loved that as well.

Berry Crumble
Apple Pie
For both of our birthdays, my boyfriend and I also dined out for Restaurant Week at the intimate Giorgio's of Gramercy. I'd never heard of the restaurant before we made reservations, which is very rare for me, but the menu looked amazing, it was close to our apartment and the price was certainly right. The restaurant also offered wine pairings, which we took advantage of, for $15 a person. While I didn't take pictures at this dinner (come on, it was a date!), I did fall in love with the food.

Giorgio's traditionally always offers a three-course meal year-round, and they use the same menu as part of the Restaurant Week promotion. This is very good news for my readers as the official Restaurant Week ends Sept. 5th! The long and narrow restaurant was packed when we got there on a Wednesday night. It's painted in a sexy red and decorated with some provocative artwork. The host greeted us as we made our way through the jam-packed bar and sat us in the back, where it was a little quieter and we could actually hear each other talk.

I started with the fried oysters; served in their shells on top of a bed of creamed spinach and topped with chipotle remoulade, these puppies were an excellent start to a meal. My boyfriend had the tuna tartare, which I almost ordered, and that was super fresh and tasty. It was also a comparatively large portion than what I would have expected, so that was nice. For the main course we both ordered the surf and turf that came with an 8 oz. grilled filet mignon and a poached tiger prawn. It was served with lemon fingerling potatoes, a good portion of asparagus and herb butter. To end our celebratory dinner we both ordered the s'mores bread pudding. You really can't compete with this dessert. When you throw chocolate together with marshmallows and graham crackers in an which formation, it's going to be good. This version was also served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled in caramel sauce. 

Restaurant this year was definitely a success for me, but I'm already plotting where I want to go for the next go-round. Anyone have any suggestions?

Wall & Water on Urbanspoon

Giorgio's of Gramercy on Urbanspoon


3-Course Dining

There are two weeks of the year I love the most in this city, not only because my birthday happens to fall in between the two of them, but because it is Restaurant Week in New York City.

For two weeks, more than 200 of NYC's top dining establishments offer special 3-course lunch and dinner menus at an attractive price - $35 for dinner and $24.07 for lunch. I have had the pleasure of participating in 2 dinners and one lunch, and I must say that my palate is more than satiated.

It started last week with dinner at Fig and Olive in the Meatpacking District. The urban Mediterranean vibe that echoes throughout the restaurant transposed itself right to the plate. We were able to taste not one, but three different olive oils to go with our bread, which was a memorable feature. We started with the steak tartare, which I had never had before but definitely will again, and the zucchini carpacchio. The portions were good-sized and very tasty. I had the Tuscan style cod with root vegetables for my entree and again, the portion was quite large, which is surprising because I've often experienced smaller sized meals for special menu deals. For dessert we split the strawberry shortbread cookies and the chocolate pot de creme. The cookies disappeared in about two seconds and I'm ashamed to say we couldn't quite finish the chocolate, it was very heavy. The service was attentive and fun, they even brought us each a glass of dessert wine when they realized they forgot to bring spoons for our dessert. I would return here when I'm in the mood for a  trendy dinner in the future.

Yesterday was my boyfriend Mike's birthday. This guy could eat so I wanted to take him somewhere he wouldn't leave hungry. Enter Primehouse in the Flatiron district. When we walked into the main dining room, I was almost taken aback by the decor. The tall marble walls, black and white geometric patterned floors and fabrics and lit-up wine display cases truly make a statement. The food did as well. Mike started with the pork belly appetizer. I know pork belly has been all the rage on menus lately, but I had yet to taste it. I did, and I can't say my life wouldn't be complete without it (I'm not one for lots of fat staring me in the face), but it was tasty. I had the gazpacho with crab meat and it was very refreshing with a poblano pepper kick. We both had the NY Strip Steak entree. Honestly, the best way to make the most out of Restaurant Week is to order a steak. The NY Strip is generally $45 on the regular dinner menu, so you've  already got more than your money's worth. For dessert, I ordered the strawberry shortcake (it seems to be a theme) and Mike got this amazing chocolatey/smores/cinnamon creation that I ended up eating half of. Hey, he's lactose intolerant! What I thought was the sweetest though, was when the waitress brought out an additional birthday dessert - warm doughnuts with three squirt bottles of chocolate, strawberry and caramel sauce for dipping, all with a candle. I would definitely recommend this place for birthdays after that.

Then there was lunch today. In retrospect, I should have planned my schedule better as some coworkers and I made reservations at the historic Delmonico's for a nice steak lunch. It's rare that I eat red meat, but yes, I did have steak two days in a row, but it was damn delicious. Restaurant Week is a great idea for lunch, not only because it's cheaper, but because it's more of a treat. How often do you eat a 3-course lunch? Most of us all ordered the same items - Snap Pea and Corn Soup with Crab, Steak Frites and Chocolate Peanut Butter Mouse. The one thing I will say is that their version of medium rare is my version of the cow is still mooing. I did have to send it back, but the service was polite and returned my steak cooked perfectly. The dessert was heavenly as well, although I went back to my office in a bit of a food coma. Let's just say I'll be eating a salad for dinner tonight.