It’s no secret that people love to talk up New York City’s annual Restaurant Week, which runs July 22nd-August 16th. Individuals snatch up tables well in advance at some of the city’s most acclaimed and popular restaurants, knowing that they’re only on the hook for a reasonable amount of dough ($25 at lunch, $38 at dinner for three courses, tax and gratuity not included). And as has been the case over the past few summers, this year’s edition has already been extended to cover almost an entire month. So what’s the catch, exactly?
While several of the city’s hotspots do take part, it is wise to look up their special menus in advance. Oftentimes, diners will be disappointed to find that the new, highly touted sushi joint in the West Village is serving only four pieces of nigiri and a California roll as a main course during Restaurant Week. The steakhouse you’ve been waiting to go to for weeks, dreaming of that juicy ribeye? Forget about it. You find yourself faced with mixed greens to start, followed by a dry slab of grilled chicken — menu items that are non-descript or not even listed during normal business days. This is where we come in: we’ve scanned the menus of this year’s Restaurant Week participants and found you the best options in terms of both quality and value. You can express your gratitude by treating us to dinner. Hey, it’ll only cost you $38.
Palm One and Palm Too
As mentioned above, steakhouses can be pretty darn polarizing during Restaurant Week. You dine there because you want a steak. Simple. The two NYC Palm establishments list filet mignon medallions, skirt steak and pork rib chops among their menu selections, with no dreaded supplemental cost. Pair any of those with a Caesar salad, a choice of a side and either flourless chocolate cake or cheesecake and we’re quite sure both your stomach and wallet will be satisfied. Lunch and dinner, 837 Second Avenue, 212-687-2953 and 840 Second Avenue, 212-697-5198, thepalm.com
This little gem nestled above a staircase in Turtle Bay is just a short walk from the more recognized Indian restaurants that line 55th Street. An intimate, dimly lit interior makes Amma the perfect destination for a date, and it dishes out some of the city’s freshest and most underrated Indian food. Its Restaurant Week lunch menu adds on a course for a total of four, while its dinner menu consists of five courses – and all items come from the restaurant’s regularly displayed options. Now, that’s what we call unbeatable value.
Lunch and dinner, 246 East 51st Street, 212-644-8330, ammanyc.com
Mr. Chow 57th and Mr. Chow Tribeca
Yes, it’s been called overpriced and yes, there are those who are quick to claim that it’s more sizzle than steak. The fact remains that Mr. Chow continues to be recognized as one of the city’s most exciting and successful restaurants since opening in the late 1970s. Restaurant Week provides an opportunity to keep the near-astronomical costs down and to try from some classic menu items — we recommend the famous chicken satay and hand-pulled noodles — while enjoying an almost definite celeb sighting or two.
Dinner only, 324 East 57th Street, 212-751-9030 and 121 Hudson Street, 212-965-9500, mrchow.com
There is perhaps no better deal than choosing from entrées including veal Milanese, grilled striped bass and pesto gnocchi at one of the city’s most renowned Italian restaurants. The Greenwich Village staple offers these normal menu items at a discount during Restaurant Week and remains one of the most sought-after tables during this period. It’s time to call now.
Lunch only, 86 West Third Street, 212-673-3783, ilmulino.com
David Burke Townhouse
The longtime and elegant Upper East Side favorite wins the award for most extensive Restaurant Week menu, with ample and diverse choices for both lunch and dinner. Sure, there are some supplemental fees thrown in there for lobster and steak dishes, but well-dressed mains of salmon, bass, scallops and short ribs more than make up for that.
Lunch and dinner, 133 East 61st Street, 212-813-2121, davidburketownhouse.com
More New York City news on Food Republic: