One of the best times of the year is Restaurant Week in NYC.
Every year, I feel like this “week” gets long and longer. This year, Winter Restaurant Week isn’t 7 days, it’s 18 DAYS.
I’ve written about how to take advantage of Restaurant Week before, but let’s recap.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself before booking a table for Restaurant Week – in New York City or any of the other cities that have created their own version of the culinary celebration.
Are they actually offering signature dishes from their typical menus? Or are they offering lame dishes made “special” for restaurant week? If there’s a dish you’ve been dying to try at a place, but it’s not offered on the restaurant week menu- save the trip, and splurge on that special entrée you’ve been eyeing.
If this is a restaurant you can typically afford anyway, don’t go during restaurant week. Keep in mind that you’re getting three courses – if you would normally go and be fine ordering an entrée and calling it a night, you can probably take the trip at another time.
If the restaurant offers a prix fixe year-round, don’t go during Restaurant week.
When you factor in tax + tip, a Restaurant Week dinner is $50. If the appetizer you want is a $5 supplementary charge and your entrée an extra $10, you’re not really getting a deal anymore.
I take this really seriously, clearly. This Restaurant Week, it wasn’t hard to make my pick – I made a dinner reservation at Park Avenue Winter. This place has been on my radar for quite some time due to its unique concept. Each season, the restaurant changes its menu and décor – so it’s really 4 restaurants in one! Park Avenue Winter, Park Avenue Spring, Park Avenue Summer and Park Avenue Fall (all you have to do is callllll).
This was a great deal because every dish on the Restaurant Week menu is part of their normal menu. What cost $50 for Restaurant Week would normally cost around $75.
The sign of a great menu is when I have anxiety about choosing. (Disclaimer: This food photography is downright dreadful!)
The meal started with two little bite-size radishes topped with a dollop of truffle butter. I didn’t hear the “truffle” butter part of the explanation and immediately made a wretched face when I tasted it – still not on-board the truffle-train, sorry.
The bread was warm and delicious, served with soft butter and sea salt.
Luckily, Peter obliged my craziness and compromised by ordering one of the appetizers I really wanted to try instead of his first choice. What a gem!
Kabocha Squash Toast with Sheep’s Milk Ricotta, Burnt Honey, Pancetta.
This was a great mix of flavors, though somewhat muted. It could have used something a little sweeter to give it that extra pop on your taste buds.
Park Avenue Winter Scallop Sandwich
This was quite exquisite – thinly sliced, pan-seared scallops sat atop a piece of toast with jalapenos on top. The flavors were very complex – though slightly greasy, causing the toast to become soggy. The scallops were tender and sweet and the fried capers added the perfect amount of salt to the dish.
Peter ordered the Mushroom Ribbon ‘Lasagna’ with rapini (a green) and 3 cheeses. This was certainly cheesy!
I ordered the Mediterranean Branzino with Spaghetti Squash ‘Caponata.’ There was a huge portion of fish which was flaky, mild and delicious. The spaghetti squash tasted great, but I could have used a little more of it!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Served with caramelized bananas and Bourbon pecan ice cream. Shockingly, this wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet and was quite delicious!
Winter White Sundae
Served with popcorn ice cream, coconut and white mocha sauce. This wasn’t as strange as it sounds – though the ice cream didn’t have much of a flavor in my opinion.
Though I could have done without the desserts – they were included so obviously I finished every bite :)
The best part of Park Avenue Winter is the massive space and the beautiful décor. Everything, including the snowball-eque glasses, radiated the feeling of “Winter.” It could also have been the fact that Blizzard Jonas had passed through NYC just the day before…
Park Avenue Winter (Spring/Summer/Fall) is definitely a restaurant to go to if you want to feel ~fancy~ for a night.
Here are some other Restaurant Week meals I’ve enjoyed!
Want some more fun facts about Restaurant Week? Thrillist has got the deets.