When A Week Is Never Enough For Foodies

When is a week not a week? If that sounds like a riddle, it can be resolved simply enough on a visit to New York, where NYC Restaurant Week is approaching fast

Starting on January 17th, a real week would mean it ends on January 23rd or the 24th at the latest. Instead, this event actually runs all the way until February 12th. That is some week.

Then again, perhaps the dates are just a statement of how vast and varied the NYC restaurant scene is. It would just not be possible to get around the Big Apple and try out every great place to eat, every type of cuisine, compare different places offering similar meals and check out those quirky places that offer something a little different. 

If you want to be adventurous and do all of that, you need time. On the flip side, even with three weeks available diners may stop a long way short of enjoying all the best that New York has to offer, especially as the start in January overlaps with NYC Broadway week, meaning many people will be splitting their leisure time between restaurants and the theatre.

At the same time, this is going to be a spectacular time for establishments, who may just need to order in some more restaurant server aprons as they take on extra staff to meet the demand of diners keen to check out the very best the Big Apple has to offer. 

The event is actually held twice a year, with a winter edition in January and February being followed by a summer version in July and August. The best thing about it is the fact that the meals are all on offer at low bargain prices, with some dishes set at fixed prices of $30, $45 or $60. This can also include pre-booked lots, such as lunch, dinner or even both in some cases.

According to NYC Go, it includes a number of the city’s most prominent restaurants, spread across the five boroughs. Among them are Bar Primi, The Dutch, Lafayette, Leuca, Locanda Verd and Westlight, all run by Andrew Carmellini, as well as Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke, Daily Provisions, Gramercy Tavern, Intersect by Lexus, Marta, Tacocina, and Union Square Café. 

Other restaurateurs with more than one restaurant on the list include Joe Bastianich with Babbo, Casa Mono, Eataly and Lupa, Keith McNally with Minetta Tavern, Morandi and Pastis, plus Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who runs The Fulton, JoJo, Mercer Kitchen, Nougatine and Perry Street.

Bookings can be taken from January 10th and, judging by the fact that this event has been established since 1992 and still includes five participating restaurants from that year - Fraunces Tavern, Golden Unicorn, Jing Fong, Sylvia’s and Union Square Café - the ‘week’ should be as popular as ever.

Of course, there is a method behind the madness of these bargain meal festivals; by helping lure in customers who might not normally be adventurous when eating out, introducing them to new types of cuisine or unfamiliar establishments, they can broaden the horizons of many eaters and ensure they come back even when the festival is over. For such customers, discovery is just the start.

January 16, 2023 — Jacob Blakey