New York City's Restaurant Week starts on Monday, July 20, and runs through Friday, Aug. 14. Participating restaurants will be offering three courses for $25 at lunch and $38 at dinner every day but Saturday, at their discretion. What follows are our picks for the six best options, based on menus, ambiance, and overall deliciousness. Reservations most definitely recommended. By Jessica Allen.
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Ai Fiori ("among the flowers" in Italian) specializes in "modern interpretations of traditional regional dishes" from the French and Italian Rivieras by Chef Michael White. Think elegant and decadent, aesthetically pleasing and gustatorily satisfying. Ai Fiori is participating in Restaurant Week during lunch Monday through Friday, a far yummier option than the usual sandwich or sad desk salad. Try the housemade pappardelle, with mushrooms, tomatoes, and ricotta salata, or pan-roasted chicken with haricot vert, corona beans, and pancetta.
These days, restauranteur Danny Meyer gets lots of love for his Shake Shack empire, and deservedly so, but he changed the restaurant scene even earlier, by opening Blue Smoke, which more or less brought a southern food, including real pit barbecue, to the Big Apple. See what the fuss was about (and, frankly, still is) during Restaurant Week, for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday as well as dinner on Sunday. We'll be starting with the deviled eggs, followed by the jambalaya, and finishing with a wedge of the mint chocolate chip ice cream cake.
The great thing about Restaurant Week is that you get the opportunity to try some of the city's hottest restaurants for a song. The Cecil, an Afro-Asian-American brasserie in Harlem, is offering dinner Sunday through Friday. Among your options are crispy squash blossoms with hearts of palm, cilantro, and lemongrass shrimp; dusted black bass with strawberry curry and lychee; and baobab mousse and olive oil cake with two types of ice cream (lavender honey and hibiscus) plus raspberries.
Vegetarian. Korean. High-end. Shrine-like. Ohmygosh. Sofreakinggood. These are just some of the words one might use to describe HanGawi, a Korean restaurant not too far from the Empire State Building. During Restaurant Week, HanGawi is offering lunch Monday through Friday and dinner on Sundays. Options include kale pancakes, acorn noodles salad with avocado fritters, a chilled porridge sampler (spinach sweet corn, black sesame, and pumpkin), bibimbap (gluten-free and vegetarian), sauteed tofu, and eggplant with kimchee.
With Harold Dieterle at the helm, Perilla has captured the hearts and minds of locals, fanboys and girls, and tourists alike. Dieterle honed his craft at various establishments before winning the first season of Top Chef, and his restaurant exudes warmth and charm. Perilla will be participating in Restaurant Week during lunch on Sunday and dinner Sunday through Friday, preparing such dishes as chilled cucumber soup, roasted farm-raised mushrooms, red mole chicken, vanilla-scented doughnuts, and ricotta pound cake.
During Restaurant Week, Tertulia, a Spanish restaurant in the West Village headed up by Chef Seamus Mullen, has got you covered for lunch or brunch on Sunday, dinner on Sunday, and lunch Monday through Friday. Start with a chilled tomato and watermelon gazpacho or traditional toasted bread with tomato and ham, then try the fish of the day or arroz a la plancha (Calasparra rice, snails, fennel, celery, wild mushrooms, and Ibérico ham). For dessert? Churros with chocolate, of course. Oh, and sangria is available for $5 a glass.
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