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The twice-annual phenomenon of Restaurant Week is upon us, here in NYC. It starts today and runs through Friday, February 9, so it is, in fact, actually closer to three weeks. During this time, participating restaurants—and there are nearly 400 this time around—offer three-course lunches for $29 and three-course dinners for $42 (not including drinks, tax, or gratuity).
That’s a lot of possibilities to wade through as you figure out where to make a reservation. One way to decide: Head for the places anointed with stars by the Michelin Guide, which issues them to places it deems exceptional.
We’re not lucky enough to have any three- or two-starred places participating this time around, but nine restaurants that hold one star are. To be sure, you likely won’t get the “full” Michelin-starred experience—most restaurants offer a limited menu for Restaurant Week diners, generally three apps, three mains, and two desserts, so maybe don’t get your hopes up for a particular dish a restaurant might be known for. Also, many participate during lunchtimes only; it’s worth double-checking each restaurant’s website or the official Restaurant Week site to confirm details. In any case, it’s a spectacular deal and a great way to enjoy a Michelin-starred restaurant on the cheap.
Pasta pro Michael White oversees a blending of French and Italian influences at Ai Fiori, in Midtown’s Langham Place hotel, where Restaurant Week might see you dining on tagliatelle carbonara or salmon in beurre blanc with pears and roasted beets. Participating in Restaurant Week for weekday lunches only.
400 Fifth Ave., Second Floor, New York City
Smack in the center of Times Square sits Aureole, with chef Charlie Palmer dishing up New American cooking. Restaurant Week dishes include a kale and crab salad starter as well as braised veal cheeks with polenta and roasted root vegetables. Note that the Restaurant Week menu is offered only in the Liberty Room, the bar-like and more casual area in the front part of the restaurant. Participating in Restaurant Week for weekday lunches and dinners.
135 West 42nd St., New York City
Legendary restaurateur Drew Nieporent (Nobu, Tribeca Grill, etc) is behind luxe Tribeca spot Bâtard, where Chef Markus Glocker cooks up dishes influenced by his Austrian roots. The Restaurant Week menu includes Viennese wedding soup, and roasted poussin (young chicken) with celeriac, pearl onions, and baby spinach. Participating in Restaurant Week for weekday dinners only.
239 West Broadway, New York City
Chef April Bloomfield, oft credited with popularizing the British gastropub style in NYC (she also helms The Spotted Pig) works magic with meat at The Breslin, in the Ace Hotel. She’ll be cooking up dishes that include guinea hen curry and venison meat pie for Restaurant Week. Participating in Restaurant Week for lunches daily except Saturdays.
16 West 29th St., New York City
Most diners agree that the elegant Cafe Boulud, within the Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side, is their favorite of French celeb chef Daniel Boulud’s many restaurants; it’s certainly ours. Restaurant Week dishes include Scottish salmon with sunchoke hash and beef bourguignon with potato purée. Participating in Restaurant Week for weekday lunches only.
20 East 76th St., New York City
Part of the Mario Batali empire, Casa Mono serves up Spanish tapas-style dishes in a cosy and fairly casual room near Gramercy Park. Options include chorizo-stuffed eggplant drizzled with honey; Catalan-style chicken stew; and red snapper grilled a la plancha with a tomato, olive, and caper sauce. Participating in Restaurant Week for weekday lunches only.
52 Irving Place, New York City
With contemporary British cuisine (offerings include Cornish fish stew and a chicken pot pie with foie gras) served in a stylish setting in the Edition hotel across from Madison Square Park, The Clocktower is a popular power-lunch spot, Instagram-worthy from every angle. Participating in Restaurant Week for weekday lunches only.
5 Madison Ave., New York City
One of New York City’s classic restaurants, going strong for more than three decades now, Gotham Bar and Grill is a posh spot helmed by chef Alfred Portale, who’s one of the forerunners of New American fare. You absolutely cannot skip the legendary chocolate cake for dessert. Participating in Restaurant Week for weekday lunches only.
12 East 12th St., New York City
Upscale Indian restaurant Junoon serves up creative plates in a vast Flatiron-area space adorned with antiques from the subcontinent. Restaurant Week dishes include eggplant chaat, ghost chilli chicken tikka, and monkfish curry. Participating in Restaurant Week for lunch and dinner daily except Saturdays.
27 West 24th St., New York City