Like many others, my husband and I usually take advantage of the New York’s Restaurant Week to try out new places on a faster pace. Of course, what was once truly a week, has recently developed into a month of special 3-course pre-fixed lunch ($24.07) or dinner ($35) menus offered by many restaurants throughout the City. I remember in the beginning very few famous and/or Michelin Starred restaurants participated in this program or if they did, the special Restaurant Week’s (RW) menu was only extended to lunch. Often than not, I could not even secure a reservation weeks in advance at these establishments during RW. It seems -at least for now- all that has changed.

So far we have had 3 dining experiences for 2010 Summer season and one on the way. They were all booked through Open Table with as  little as a day advance reservation. Here are a few quick notes about each:

  • Tocqueville- 1 East 15th Street (Union Square)

We enjoyed the ambiance, comfortable seats and spacious tables. We were seated immediately upon arrival.  Restaurant Week’s(RW) menu was somewhat limited but O.K. In addition, there was a 3-course pre-fixed Green Market menu prepared based on weekly fresh finds at Unions Square Green Market for $48. We found the latter to be slightly better. Both menus were offered with wine pairings for about $20-25 more which again was O.K. but not great. Service was generally attentive but a bit spotty. You can park at the Muni Meters right in front or print an online coupon for nearby (a few doors down) garage for $20 (up to 6 hrs. of parking). If willing to walk a couple of blocks, you would probably find free on street parking as well.

  • David Burke townhouse- 133 East 61st St.

Best Restaurant Week’s menu ever… Appetizer: a couple of salads, crab cakes and shrimp, gazpacho, lobster/tuna and scallops ($8-10 supplement) Entree: free range chicken, fish (2 preparations), short ribs, etc. Dessert: apple tart, peach melba sundae, ice cream cake, ice cream & sorbet… Food is really tasty, service a bit slow and noise a little too much.  Tables are closely arranged but comfortable and the dining hall is a little too brightly lit. You cannot beat the value of  RW menu at this place. It was probably the best 3-course $35 dinner I ever had. Wine selection is O.K. With a few exceptions, wine prices start at around $50 and quickly go up. Their signature Cheesecake Lollipops are better left for kids and not worth the supplement.

  • Delmonico’s- 56 Beaver St. (Wall St.)

Delmonico is the first fine dining restaurant in the country. Back in 1930s, they had a cellar with over 16,000 bottles of wine, private dining halls and even a few rooms for lingering out of towners. You can still imagine its grandeur behind the old and tired dining hall and the unprofessional but caring service staff. The RW menu for a 3-course steak dinner is hard to beat. The frisee salad with grilled asparagus and seared sea scallops are fantastic appetizers. Entree choices are steak frites, cod, chicken a la keene and filet mignon (all good portions) or Delmonico’s steak (20 Oz) at $15 supplement. Meyer lemon tart, chocolate mouse or baked alaska(+5) are dessert options. They also offer a white and a red bottle of wine as part of RW menu for under $30. All together, we were not impressed by the ambiance but had no problem with the food. Street parking is easy and a stroll down a few blocks to South Street Seaport is a nice digestive walk.

Restaurant Week will end on September 6th. It is valid Monday-Friday with Sundays as optional. Check when making a reservation if the restaurant offers RW menu for lunch, dinner or both.

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