So Summer Restaurant Week is dunzo, but never fear! It’ll only be a few months until the weather gets colder and Winter Restaurant Week rolls around in January. If you’re still looking to catch a fancy three-course meal on your college budget, two of the three restaurants from this review still offer a pre-fixe menu all year round! If you guys want to know my other recommendations, definitely check out my past Restaurant Week posts (1, 2, 3).
Gotham Bar & Grill
Executive Chef: Alfred Portale
Cuisine: American New
Location: Greenwich Village
- Appetizer (bottom left): striped bass ceviche with honeydew, watermelon, jicama, red onion, cilantro, chile and fresh lime
- Entrée (top): grilled beef strip loin with sweet corn polenta, braised swiss chard, bordelaise sauce
- Dessert (bottom right): Gotham chocolate cake served warm with salted almond ice cream
My Rating (out of 5)
Located on East 12th Street between 5th Avenue and University Place, I’ve passed Gotham Bar & Grill on many occasions while walking to and from class. I’ve always heard this restaurant was spectacular, and it’s got the awards to prove it! The long list of honors include countless three-star reviews in the New York Times, multiple James Beard Foundation awards, and even holds a Michelin Star—a recognition Gotham has been awarded for many consecutive years. With all these accolades, it’s sometimes intimidating to dine in such a restaurant. How does a 21 year-old college hooligan fit into the dining room full of New York City’s elite? I’ve had experiences in the past where my presence was severely frowned upon in fancy restaurants because I didn’t quite exactly fit the bill for a regular customer, but I was delightfully surprised to see how friendly the staff was. But let’s talk about the food. For my appetizer, the ceviche was probably one of the best I’ve ever had. The combination of citrus acid, garden fresh fruits, and some kick from the red onions, cilantro, and chile really made for an incredible complexity of flavors. Striped bass is a pretty mild fish on its own, so it really absorbed the layers of flavors beautifully. I was slightly disappointed with my entrée—maybe because I like my beef to be as rare and tender as possible—but I found it to be a little tough. The bordelaise sauce that accompanied the beef loin, however, really saved the dish and added some much needed moisture. The Gotham chocolate cake with the salted caramel ice cream and fresh berries was simple, elegant, and refreshing. Browsing through the rest of the menu, I found that to be a trend with Gotham’s food offerings, which focus on fresh, local ingredients. Refreshing!!! If you missed Restaurant Week this time around, Gotham offers their $28 Greenmarket three-course lunch pre-fixe all year round!
City Crab & Seafood Company
Executive Chef: Michael Siry “Sheffy”
- Appetizer (top left): coconut steamed pet blue mussels with serrano chilies, lemongrass, ginger, and black garlic rustic crouton
- Entrée (bottom): New England lobster bake with 1 1/4lb lobster, mussels, clams, sweet corn on the cob, steamed fingerling lake potatoes, and tarragon aioli
- Dessert (top right): New York cheesecake with bing cherries jubilee and whipped cream
My Rating (out of 5)
I came to City Crab kind of a whim. My roommate and I had a long day, we didn’t feel like cooking, and we both had a craving for seafood. City Crab is pretty casual…the dark wood interior and nautical decorations almost feels kitschy. But hey, $38 for a three-course seafood dinner? I’m game! But of course, it’s almost too good to be true. All the food was just okay, there’s nothing much to be said about the dishes because they’re not exactly on the cutting-edge of culinary innovation. If you’re looking to have some mediocre seafood (and A LOT of it) for a reasonable price, this is the place to go. I mean, I did get to eat a pot of mussels AND a whole freakin’ lobster with a bunch of other assorted sea critters, right??! If you’re looking for some really good mussels, I’d suggest Flex Mussels on 13th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. If you’re looking for some really good lobster, check out the many Luke’s Lobster locations throughout the city (there’s even a food truck too!)
- Executive Chef: Daniel Boulud
- Cuisine: French
- Location: Bowery
- Appetizer (bottom left): chilled zucchini and basil soup with goat cheese en croute and aleppo
- Entrée (top): the Frenchie Burger (6 oz beef patty with confit pork belly, tomato-onion compote, argula, morbier, cheese on a peppered brioche bun) served with cornichon, mustard, and fries
- Dessert (bottom right): chocolate hazelnut cake (devil’s food cake with a praline crumble and bittersweet chocolate ice cream)
My Rating (out of 5)
If you remember during Winter Restaurant Week, I had an incredible lunch at the Michelin-starred Café Boulud. DBGB Kitchen is Chef Daniel Boulud’s more casual downtown eatery, which combines the cuisine of a French brasserie with the atmosphere of an American tavern. The dining room is loud and bustling…it was a little difficult to hold my lunchtime conversation, but that’s kinda expected of a brasserie. My appetizer was definitely my favorite dish out of the three. The chilled zucchini and basil soup was so refreshing on that hot summer day. And what’s that little mystery stick straddled across the rim of the bowl? That would be the most amazing mystery stick ever! The shell was crispy like an egg roll, while the inside was gooey with soft, warm goat cheese. The tartness of the goat cheese was a perfect complement to the mild garden flavor of the soup. Because I was at a French brasserie during lunchtime, I figured the best entrée option would be the burger. Now, remember that we live in New York City…the pantheon of some of the best burger spots in the world (think Shake Shack, Corner Bistro, Burger Joint, Dumont Burger), so with such tough competition, my tolerance for mediocre burgers is slim. Now don’t get me wrong, the burger wasn’t bad, I’ve just had better. What I did really love about this burger, though, was the confit pork belly, which was a tasty, sophisticated replacement for your all-American slab of bacon. As a huge Nutella fan, the chocolate hazelnut cake I had for dessert was soft, decadent, and mouthwatering. And check out my photo, doesn’t it just look gorgeous?
Restaurant Week returns in January, so start saving your dollars and your stretchy pants for some amazing meals. Bon appetite!