There are two weeks of the year I love the most in this city, not only because my birthday happens to fall in between the two of them, but because it is Restaurant Week in New York City.
For two weeks, more than 200 of NYC's top dining establishments offer special 3-course lunch and dinner menus at an attractive price - $35 for dinner and $24.07 for lunch. I have had the pleasure of participating in 2 dinners and one lunch, and I must say that my palate is more than satiated.
It started last week with dinner at Fig and Olive in the Meatpacking District. The urban Mediterranean vibe that echoes throughout the restaurant transposed itself right to the plate. We were able to taste not one, but three different olive oils to go with our bread, which was a memorable feature. We started with the steak tartare, which I had never had before but definitely will again, and the zucchini carpacchio. The portions were good-sized and very tasty. I had the Tuscan style cod with root vegetables for my entree and again, the portion was quite large, which is surprising because I've often experienced smaller sized meals for special menu deals. For dessert we split the strawberry shortbread cookies and the chocolate pot de creme. The cookies disappeared in about two seconds and I'm ashamed to say we couldn't quite finish the chocolate, it was very heavy. The service was attentive and fun, they even brought us each a glass of dessert wine when they realized they forgot to bring spoons for our dessert. I would return here when I'm in the mood for a trendy dinner in the future.
Yesterday was my boyfriend Mike's birthday. This guy could eat so I wanted to take him somewhere he wouldn't leave hungry. Enter Primehouse in the Flatiron district. When we walked into the main dining room, I was almost taken aback by the decor. The tall marble walls, black and white geometric patterned floors and fabrics and lit-up wine display cases truly make a statement. The food did as well. Mike started with the pork belly appetizer. I know pork belly has been all the rage on menus lately, but I had yet to taste it. I did, and I can't say my life wouldn't be complete without it (I'm not one for lots of fat staring me in the face), but it was tasty. I had the gazpacho with crab meat and it was very refreshing with a poblano pepper kick. We both had the NY Strip Steak entree. Honestly, the best way to make the most out of Restaurant Week is to order a steak. The NY Strip is generally $45 on the regular dinner menu, so you've already got more than your money's worth. For dessert, I ordered the strawberry shortcake (it seems to be a theme) and Mike got this amazing chocolatey/smores/cinnamon creation that I ended up eating half of. Hey, he's lactose intolerant! What I thought was the sweetest though, was when the waitress brought out an additional birthday dessert - warm doughnuts with three squirt bottles of chocolate, strawberry and caramel sauce for dipping, all with a candle. I would definitely recommend this place for birthdays after that.
Then there was lunch today. In retrospect, I should have planned my schedule better as some coworkers and I made reservations at the historic Delmonico's for a nice steak lunch. It's rare that I eat red meat, but yes, I did have steak two days in a row, but it was damn delicious. Restaurant Week is a great idea for lunch, not only because it's cheaper, but because it's more of a treat. How often do you eat a 3-course lunch? Most of us all ordered the same items - Snap Pea and Corn Soup with Crab, Steak Frites and Chocolate Peanut Butter Mouse. The one thing I will say is that their version of medium rare is my version of the cow is still mooing. I did have to send it back, but the service was polite and returned my steak cooked perfectly. The dessert was heavenly as well, although I went back to my office in a bit of a food coma. Let's just say I'll be eating a salad for dinner tonight.