Restaurant Week: Early reports
With Restaurant Week nearing the halfway point, we'd love to hear what you've experienced so far. Has the hectic promotion lived up to its reputation for rushed service and not-yet-ready-for-prime-time plates? Or have you been surprised with quality and found new spots you will return to even after the promotion ends?
For my part, I've been really pleased. I stuck to my three basic Restaurant Week rules: get reservations early and get them at places where you know you will be getting a deal, dine early to avoid the rush and don't be afraid of lunch. My meals at Oyamel, 701 and Bourbon Steak have been all been good, and I've found something notable at each.
Oyamel is expanding on the three-course format at lunch by sneaking in an extra plate between the second course and dessert -- the taco course. I'm a sucker for beef tongue, and Joe Raffa's lengua guisada taco was awesome.
At dinner at 701, the garganelli with red wine-braised rabbit was the best thing that hit our table, but I was most excited about finding the "Big 20," the restaurant's special 20th anniversary libation, on the cocktail list for $10 -- a real deal. The drink is made with Old Overholt rye, a lemon honey syrup, strega and allspice dram, and it has a smooth, spicy flavor with a nice, lingering aftertaste. It would make a great accompaniment to either the lemon-poppy seed or maple walnut cake -- and I usually prefer an after-dinner tipple to most desserts.
Bourbon Steak did its thing, combining impeccable service with well done, not over-complicated food. The smoked trout was subtle and well-balanced and the pastrami sandwich came piled high. One nice touch: the restaurant offers a 4-ounce wine pairing for $15, so you can enjoy the skills of Bourbon Steak sommelier Julian Mayor without falling asleep at your 3 p.m. meeting.
My colleague Tim Carman also had some good luck with his Restaurant Week meal at Siroc. He reports:
If most restaurants pare down their Restaurant Week menus to the bare bones, or at least to dishes that are both easy to execute and cheap to produce, then Siroc bucks the trend. The Italian restaurant on McPherson Square stuffs its Restaurant Week menus with plates that don't appear to scrimp on either ingredients or portions. Veal osso bucco, saffron fettuccini and branzino for Restaurant Week? Yep, you're not dreaming. Of course, some dishes may sound better in description than in actual preparation, like the house-made black pepper tagliatelle with jumbo day-boat scallops, a lunch-time pasta course that was all (and I mean, all) about the heat. But you can take some cooling solace in the final course of almond cake with blueberry topping, a dessert that will (somehow) make you feel light.
Have any Restaurant Week photos to share? We would love for you to show off your snaps in our Restaurant week photo gallery.
Posted by: TommyMcGuire | January 20, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse
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