Yes, dear foodies, it’s your favorite time of year again – a time to let your gastronomic freak flag fly and fill your belly with some of the most sumptuous offerings New York’s finest restaurants have to offer. NYC Summer Restaurant Week is upon us… so you better make the best of it.
In case you’re new to New York or have been unconscious since 1992 (which was when the city had its first-ever Restaurant Week), this is a time when participating restaurants in New York City offer prix fixe lunches and dinner, often at a fraction of their regular prices. It’s actually longer than a week – this one last’s from July 25 through Aug. 19 – and it happens twice a year, in winter and summer.
So what’s this year’s amazing deal? How’s about a three-course lunch for $29 or a three-course dinner for $42. Sound good? Are you salivating yet? Then read on to get our picks for the best participating eateries. And mangia!
146 Essex Street
Lower East Side, Manhattan
Hidden behind a functioning pawn shop, Beauty & Essex is a true gem on the Lower East Side and widely regarded as one of New York’s most beautiful restaurants. Head inside and past the two-story crystal chandelier, and settle in to the elegant banquet seating for celebrity chef Chris Santos’ signature menu of international small plates, along with dry-aged steaks and raw bar offerings. Leave room for the restaurant’s equally decadent desserts.
Must Try: Grilled Cheese Dumplings… and a cocktail, of course!
2. MP Taverna
470 Driggs Avenue
MP Taverna is chef Michael Psilakis’s modern interpretation of a traditional Greek tavern. Open for brunch and dinner, MP Taverna’s accessible, Greek-inspired menu brings Psilakis’s Greek fare to Brooklyn and is another step towards the chef’s goal of putting Greek cuisine on the culinary main stage. The menu offers dips, salads, sausages, mezes (appetizers), as well as composed and grilled entrees and sides that are meant to be shared by a group. Alcoholic beverages are available at half price during a daily 3–6pm happy hour. Sweet!
Must Try: Octopus
27 East 21st Street
Gramercy Park, Manhattan
A classy, well-rated Italian eatery decorated in beige and burgundy in the glamorous Gramercy Park neighborhood, Giorgio’s offerings include salad, pasta, sandwiches and entrees such as filet mignon. Order online and have a catering order delivered. Look for the penne ragu, and the Berkshire pork chop with pumpkin seed-sesame soy glaze—or perhaps the mustard-crusted rack of lamb with fingerling potatoes will catch your eye. And try the s’more bread pudding for dessert.
Must Try: Oysters
622 3rd Avenue
Chef Richard Sandoval, whose accolades include Bon Appetit Restaurateur of the Year and Mexico’s Toque d’Oro, artfully spins Latin-Asian ingredients into colorful, beautifully balanced dishes designed for sharing—everything from ceviche to dim sum to crispy tofu to lamb loin. Zengo features one of the largest collections of tequila and agave-based spirits in the U.S., plus Latin wines and Japanese sakes, all of which pair well with the Latin-Asian cuisine.
Must Try: Lobster Grits
5. ABC Kitchen
35 East 18th Street
Flatiron District, Manhattan
ABC Kitchen’s Michelin-starred Chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, has a passionate commitment to offering the freshest organic and local ingredients possible. Located within ABC Carpet & Home and sharing space with its sister restaurant, ABC Cocina (which features seasonal global Latin cuisine by Jean-Georges), this restaurant is a destination for visitors and locals alike.
Must Try: Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad
5. Fig & Olive—Downtown
420 West 13th Street
Meatpacking District, Manhattan
Wall of high-end olive oil neatly placed 0n minimalist shelves? Check. Assorted pots of finely manicured grasses and shrubbery? Check. Edgy and tasty modern Mediterranean flavor combinations? Check. With Fig & Olive’s attention to detail, you are guaranteed a consistently good meal. The Jamon Serrano, fresh fig and warm goat cheese appetizer is a fantastic salty-sweet signature dish. Olive oil is, of course, a staple ingredient in most dishes, and when you find one (or a few) that you like, you can pick up a bottle to take home with you from the in-house shop.
Must Try: Croquettes