Yes, it’s back! It’s time to fête the return of New York City’s most beloved dining extravaganza: Restaurant Week. Dining out is a must-do activity in a city obsessed with finding new restaurants. Where being “in the know” when it comes to ferreting out the hottest trends, rising chef stars, and cuisines making their intro into this “melting pot” city is more than a casual pastime. We love diversity and Restaurant Week gives you the chance to dip your finger, or at least your taste buds, into some 34 distinctive cuisines.
Add these dates into your calendar now: January 21 – February 9 for the 28th New York City Restaurant Week; now is the time to enjoy the fall and winter bounty, especially the flavorful local vegetables that add to the seasons’ hearty (and creative) dishes. The next restaurant week won’t be until July (July 20-August 16).
This year’s Restaurant Week offers up more than 350 restaurants in 45 diverse neighborhoods, each offering a prix fixe menu for a two-course $26 lunch or a three-course $42 dinner or both with locations throughout the five boroughs. Note that restaurants that are gratuity-inclusive such as Blue Smoke, Maialino, Manhatta, Marta and Untitled have menus for $31 and $50.
Reservations go quickly, so jump on OpenTable or call the restaurant to book your table now. That, and choosing which restaurants to try out, are the trickiest part of this exercise.
To help you sort through the many restaurants offering special menus and Woodford Reserve Specials, I’ve selected ten that are especially interesting with a sample of their menu offerings. You can find the full list at New York Restaurant week.
Downtown at the Conrad Hotel in Battery Park City, ATRIO Wine Bar and Restaurant celebrates the cooler weather with a medley of burrata with roasted beet puree and honey-balsamic glazed kale sprouts; tuna tartare with roasted squash, avocado, green apples and pomegranate seeds; and vegetarian-friendly roasted cauliflower with garlicky Romesco sauce and za’atar spice. Dessert choices are white chocolate and raspberry bread pudding adorned with crème anglaise or a berry compote-drizzled New York cheesecake.
Just north, Bagatelle NYC in the Meatpacking District has put together a selection of its signature menu items along with new dishes. Homemade Parisian gnocchi in a black truffle sauce, crispy branzino in tempura with a mayonaisey gribiche sauce, and braised beef shank with caramelized carrot purée are popular mains on the menu for Restaurant Week. You’ll be glad the prix fixe includes dessert, as Bagatelle’s French specialties Baba au Rhum and Paris Brest should not be missed.
Feeling especially culture-minded and hungry? Enjoy a taste of Paris at Sofitel New York’s charming Gaby Brasserie Française near the Theater District. Executive Chef Robert Hohmann is serving French faves like Croque Madame and duck Bolognese for brunch, Alaskan cod for lunch, and boeufRossini for dinner. The restaurant’s location just east of Duffy Square is perfect for a pre-theater (or post-theater) meal.
If Lincoln Center or Jazz at Lincoln Center are your destination, you might want to reserve a table at Porter House Bar and Grill in the Time Warner Center. There you can enjoy Michael Lomonaco’s standout ML’s Caesar Salad followed by roast Lancaster chicken with mushroom pan roast; garganelli Bolognese; or Faroe Island salmon with fennel confit, roasted carrots and a za’atar spice crust.
On the East Side, the glass-enclosed Morgan Café at The Morgan Library and Museum will be showcasing its dining collaboration with Chef Tom Colicchio during Restaurant Week. The two-course lunch menu includes a choice of The Pierpont Salad (named for J, Pierpont Morgan), hamachi crudo, or celeriac soup to start followed by ricotta gnocchi, Chatham cod, or hanger steak with Swiss chard, fingerling potatoes, bone marrow, white anchovies and salsa verde.
For a second treat from Tom Colicchio, book a table at Riverpark where the seasonal and ingredient-driven menu incorporates produce from its own urban farm (overlooking the FDR Drive). The Restaurant Week menu features signature dishes as well as new items. For starters choose the kale salad with mustard greens, roasted squash, pumpkin seeds, ricotta salata and cranberry vinaigrette. Housemade zucca pasta is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes and is served with pumpkin ragu, basil-dusted delicata squash and a variety of dried basil including Thai, blue spice and lemon basil. Meat lovers can enjoy another favorite, smoked brisket enhanced with broccoli rabe purée, garlic confit and smashed potatoes.
Restaurant legend Lidia Bastianich is the draw at Felidia, and Restaurant Week is a good chance to sample some of her acclaimed Italian cuisine. For lunch, appetizers include a choice of bean, squash and chestnut soup; salmone affumicato made with house smoked salmon pastrami and egg potato salad; or Lidia’s penne with gran biscotto ham and creamy tomato sauce. For a main, you’ll have a choice of salmon with potato, spinach and mustard sauce; Lidia’s rigatoni with spicy tomato sauce, housemade ricotta and rosemary; or thinly sliced braised wagyu beef and polenta. Come hungry as you’ll want to indulge in homemade gelato, panna cotta or tiramisu for dessert.
An exciting choice if you’re in the mood for Japanese is the lunchtime Restaurant Week menu at midtown’s Zuma New York. With an innovative spin on contemporary Japanese cuisine, the sceney izakaya-style restaurant adds ingredients hand-picked and sourced from small farms across Japan by Head Chef Oliver Lange and features an extensive sake pairing menu. Restaurant Week dishes include salmon tartare with ponzu and mustard miso, spicy fried tofu with avocado and Japanese herbs, and black cod marinated in Saikyo miso.
Now that the holiday crowds have disappeared, it’s a good time to explore what’s happening at Hudson Yards. Located on the fourth floor of the new shopping mall, queensyard is offering both lunch and dinner Restaurant Week menus with comfort food-oriented dishes like delicata squash with shaved Brussels sprouts and smoked chestnut salad; and Green Circle chicken consommé with Jerusalem artichoke doughnuts and pickled enoki If it’s cold outside, the English muffin burger or Hunter’s Pie made with duck, pheasant and rabbit will hit the spot. Desserts like sticky toffee pudding add a sweet finish.
Don’t eat meat? There are Restaurant Week menus just for you at Rahi in the West Village. Indian food lovers can choose from starters like flavorful gunpowder aloo and Dahi chili paneer. For a main, vegetarian and fish dishes include pumpkin coconut curry and three mango cod. If you love Indian but prefer a meat dish, try Rahi’s signature banana leaf chicken, a juicy bone-in chicken leg served with Basmati rice.