Prix Fixe Yourself

By: Samvida Patel

It’s that time of the year again! What originally was a 4-day affair organized by Tim Zagat and the late Joe Baum for the reporters attending the Democratic Convention of 1992, transformed into a month-long event by the unrelenting demands of the public.  Who doesn’t love seemingly affordable splurging?  And we say seemingly because of course, when you know you’re getting a huge price cut, you may feel inclined to spend on extras, like fine wine.  So in the end, what you had hoped would be a 25-dollar lunch or a 38-dollar dinner turned into much, much more.

But…we still love it.  When else would you be able to experience fine dining, if you are one of the working middle-class majority?  Here is an eclectic mix of restaurants we have pooled together for you to consider.

La Masseria- Italian is always a safe option to go with if you don’t traverse the boundary separating conventional and novel foods, but it can become boring if you don’t frequent the right places.  La Masseria, happens to be an exception.  While they keep their dishes simple, the finesse that goes into producing balanced, flavorful food with perfectly al-dente texture is unmistakable.  The Gnocchetti di Patate alla Sorrentina embodies just that—as someone who prides herself in being an eater of all almost all non-vegetarian dishes, I would say this simple, delicate pasta is the best on the menu.

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Hangawi- Sure it’s tucked away among the karaoke bars, casual eateries, and hotels that make up “K-Town,” but its name has much acclaim for its authentic, vegetarian food and traditional atmosphere.  More than the actual food, practices of the Eastern culture such as removing shoes and sitting close together on low-to-the-ground tables, offers customers an intriguing dining experience. Image

ImageAll dishes complement ambiance with their wholesome, pure quality, but the Spicy Todok Bibimbap and stone bowl stir fries particularly stand out.

Ilili- A prime member of New York City’s upmarket venues, this restaurant takes Lebanese foods to another level entirely.  To put into perspective, chefs behind these creations have been able to slash the unfortunate, most-hated-vegetable reputation that brussel sprouts carry.

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The roasted sprouts are tossed with slivered grapes, walnuts, and pureed fig, all of which are brought together with mint yogurt sauce.

Unfortunately, the dish is not on the prix-fixe menu, but it is an absolute must-try.  You can’t go wrong with any choice on either the set or a la carte menus.  Especially not the Phoenician Fries and Braised Lamb Shank!

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These of course, are only 3 of 293 restaurants participating in “restaurant month.”  Book your table in advance because places get packed super fast!  Can’t find a reservation?  Thankfully, featured restaurants including Amma, Darbar Fine Indian Cuisine, Darbar Grill, Yuva Frontier Indian Grill, and Fig & Olive 5th Avenue catering are all on Foodtoeat.com! You can have the same scrumptious food delivered to you and have restaurant week your way.

Happy Dining!

Article Reference:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/08/how-restaurant-week-became-restaurant-month/61215/

Photo References:

http://www.yelp.com

http://www.foodspotting.com

http://www.notjustvegetarian.com

http://www.gorgeouslywed.com

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

2013 Restaurant Week Kicks Off

It’s that time of year again when restaurants will post their prix-fixe menus outside and lure customers in with exciting dishes at great prices. In other words, it’s NYC Restaurant Week, or Restaurant Week(s) considering this event will last a full three weeks. This year over 300 restaurants in NYC are participating with either a $38 three-course dinner or a $25 three-course lunch. For some of the ‘trendiest’ restaurants in New York, these fixed prices can offer you a huge deal, as long you make a reservation in time.

Starting today, the 300+ restaurants will accept reservations for lunch and dinner, although some of the fancier restaurants offer lunch options only. The price of dinner has also increased this year, from $35 to $38, while lunch has increased by 93 cents. No doubt many of the participating restaurants campaigned to raise prix-fixe prices this year after serving low-tipping customers on an already marginally profitable meal.

Of course some hiccups can be expected in service with so many mouths to feed, so we recommend to customers to just enjoy a meal at a new restaurant and be understanding of the week’s demands. Of course we also recommend that you do your research before heading out to a restaurant. Some regular menus will clock in at about the same price at the prix-fixe, while other restaurants generally charge far more than they would for Restaurant Week. Of course the prix-fixe only accounts for your meal, and does not include drinks, tax and tip. Time to get on the phone and start making those reservations!

For a full list of participating restaurants, click here.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

A Restaurant Owner’s Perspective of Restaurant week

New York City’s Restaurant Week kicked off this Monday, July 16th, and scores of the city’s top restaurants have created their prix-fixed menus to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this event. This is the first year that Restaurant Week will actually last a full month, all the way until August 10th. Those looking to dine at any participating restaurants can expect three courses for $24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner.

While restaurant week can be a great experience for those without huge budgets to sample cuisine from New York’s finest restaurants at a moderate price, it puts restaurants in a sort of frenzy to please customers at lightning speed and still somehow turn a profit with the low prix-fixed meals they are serving. However one restaurant owner has a unique perspective towards restaurant week, viewing it more as a service from the restaurant community at large.

Alex Guarnaschelli is the chef and owner of Butter, and despite the difficulties Butter faces every year when this week comes around, she views it as a priority for her restaurant to make great food affordable to more people. Because of this philosophy, Butter has had Restaurant Week menus for the past eight years.

“Part of my commitment to Restaurant Week is because I don’t think it’s fair, for financial reasons, to end up excluding people from having a fun dining experience. I really don’t. I feel passionately about that. I mean, we’ve done Restaurant Week for eight years with Butter, and I would never not do it. It’s torture for the staff, it’s such work and it’s so hard. It’s like bailing water out of a boat 24/7. But it gives us a chance to remind us about hospitality, and the idea that people come to a restaurant to eat. Like, that basic idea that’s so easy to get away from is important to me. Restaurant Week is a nice kick-in-the-ass reminder of that; to me…I think it’s great for students, too. It’s a good student budget thing. You pick two or three or whatever, and you have a number of weeks to go, and one of those every week or two is something you can manage.”

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Independent Restaurants Struggle to Keep Up with Large Competitors

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has not been faring so well since the 2008 recession, but not all restaurants have been as bad off as others. Chain restaurants have apparently fared much better than independent restaurants, and actually gained restaurants locations since 2009.

A new study by the NPD Group confirms that from 2008 to 2011, the number of restaurants visits in the United States dropped from 62.7 billion to 60.6 billion. The report went deeper to show that 87% of the loss in restaurants business occurred at independent restaurants, even though before the recession only a little over a quarter of all restaurants visits took place at independent establishments.

To add to the discrepancy, since 2009 restaurant chains now control 61% of the industry, while independent restaurants account for 27% of total restaurant visits. Overall, the number of independent restaurants in the United States decreased by a whopping 7,158. Chain restaurants however increase by 4,511.

The study further showed that higher-end restaurants in large urban areas have continued to fare well throughout the recession, while the smaller restaurants felt the brunt of the recession.

Supporting mom & pop restaurants is more crucial at this time than ever before. While the economy is still recovering, these small restaurants continue to feel the pressure of being squeezed out by chain restaurants and high fees across the board. With events like restaurant week urging consumers to return to local establishments, hopefully small restaurants can rebound and begin to turn the tide against large chains.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Chinatown Announces Restaurant Week

New York’s Chinatown just announced that it will be hosting its own upcoming Restaurant Week. The promotional week will take place from March 9th to March 18th, and participating restaurants will offer a 10-day prix fixe multi course dinner for $18.88 per person excluding tax and tip.

The week is being presented by public relations firm, the Kaimen Company, emphasizing that the theme of this Restaurant Week is ‘coming home’ to Chinatown.

“Our Chinatown community, Founding Participants, and Founding Community Supporters are thrilled to invite everyone home with us for Chinatown Restaurant Week. We believe the Restaurant Week dining and shopping deals are so exceptional that people will want to come to Chinatown as often as a possible during Restaurant Week and visit Chinatown again in the future,” said Kaimen Company President and Chinatown Restaurant Week Executive Producer Julie Huang.

According to Chinatown Restaurant Creative Director Bob Barnett, the one thing about Chinese culture everyone can agree on is the food. Barnett hopes first-timers and weekly regulars will dine at restaurants in Chinatown that week in March, for a unique cultural experience.

On February 13th, the Asian American Restaurant Association and representatives from the New York State Restaurant Association are hosting an information briefing at Lin Sing Association on Mott Street, to answer questions about the Restaurant Week and assist with registration. For those requesting more information you can dial (775) 996-3560, enter room number 669137 and press # to begin listening for information. Chinatown Restaurant Week is a community-based celebration of Chinese food, culture and the local Chinatown community.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com