It’s that time of year again, the twice annual Restaurant Week has arrived in New York City. While Restaurant Week in New York always offers an avenue to enjoy some of New York’s best restaurants affordably, I’m particularly partial to Summer Restaurant Week. During Summer, everyone wants to leave the house and is looking for places to grab drinks or dine out. So now is your chance, starting July 21st through August 15, to venture to one of the 300 restaurants in New York City participating in Summer Restaurant Week. What started as an actual week has expanded its time frame, giving you more opportunity to enjoy some of New York City’s finest dining establishments for a fraction of their normal cost. However not all summer restaurant week options are created equal, some are more limited, some offer only lunch, some have day or night of the week restrictions, so it’s important to be an informed diner. Here is a sampling of a few great New York City restaurants that offer some of the most extensive Summer Restaurant Week menus for both lunch and dinner and where you will truly get your bang for your buck.
A 3-course lunch menu is $25, and dinner is $38 (pre tax and tip).
23 Grand Street (Btwn 6th Ave. & Thompson St.)
In general, David Burke’s restaurants have been known for truly outstanding restaurant week menus. So while you can’t go wrong trying any of his restaurants during this time, David Burke Kitchen, stands out especially during Summer. The restaurant offers both lunch and dinner restaurant week menus. The following are popular on the regular menu, and included on the restaurant week menu! Lobster Dumplings with zucchini, white beans, tomatoes and roasted garlic to start, their incredible Short Rib with handmade wild cavatelli pasta with truffle mousse and David Burke’s famous cheesecake lollipops for two can all be had in this one meal at this special price. This is just one permutation of Summer Restaurant Week at David Burke Kitchen, while it may be prix fix, there are many options and something for everyone. Their Summer Restaurant Week Dinner menu is even more extensive. The Pretzel Crusted Crab Cake is a must try appetizer if you’re willing to splurge. Lastly, while David Burke Kitchen is a restaurant week fixture, it’s an especially great summer destination, since it offers outdoor seating in it’s Treehouse area, fun summer cocktails and a rooftop lounge, Jimmy, adjacent to it in the James Hotel for some after dinner drinks.
12 East 12th Street (Btwn. 5th Ave. & University Pl.)
If you want fine dining that’s both light on the waistline and wallet, check out New York institution Gotham Bar & Grill during Summer Restaurant Week. They offer menus that consist of fresh, local and sustainable greenmarket vegetarian options. Expect great salads, like their Organic Kale and Quinoa Salad with local stone fruit, black currants, macrona almonds and pecorino parato and wonderful fish options. Have no fear though, they offer a fantastic Artisan Campanelle Pasta with chicken sausage, broccoli rabe, sungold chili flakes and oregano parmesan if you’re looking for a heartier course. However, be warned their Summer Restaurant Week dinner menu is a special greenmarket vegetarian tasting menu, all fresh, all seasonal, all incredible, just note its limited and not for those with a hankering for chicken or red meat.
151 East 58th Street (Btwn. 3rd & Lexington Ave.)
For any of you Real Housewives of New York City fans out there, you may be dying to visit Le Cirque, the infamous site of Aviva’s leg toss in last night’s season finale. Le Cirque has been a well known New York City landmark for the finest of french dining, now located in the gorgeous Bloomberg building. But for most of us, Le Cirque costs a pretty penny, reserved for only the most special of occasions. However, it does take part in Summer Restaurant Week for both lunch and dinner. Two-course meals for lunch and dinner at $28 and $38. What may seem like getting a little less for your money in comparison to other places, is truly a steal here. The Le Cirque Salad with black truffle infused balsamic vinaigrette and shaved vegetables is simple, classic and a must try. They really don’t skimp on options on their restaurant week menu’s. And this is an example of really what Restaurant Week is all about.
251 W. 50th Street (also located at 166 E. 82nd St. and 205 Thompson St.)
While Toloache may be moderately priced to begin with, it’s not cheap, and we are New Yorkers after all, so why pay more when you can pay less? Toloache has three locations in New York City, offering you more convenience and more opportunities to check it out. The food, the atmosphere, the drinks all contribute to the phenomenal dining experience at Toloache. Once inside you feel as if you found a hidden gem. And other than offering both 3-course lunch and dinner restaurant week menus, since this restaurant isn’t a bank breaker, you leave guilt-free if you choose to add something else off the restaurant week menu. Where else can you order seven chile rubbed skirt steak with brussel sprout-queso fresco salad as just one of three courses in a $35 dollar meal in New York City?