Fun Facts and NYC Restaurant Week Guide 2020

Initially I was going to write this up as a straight forward guide to Restaurant Week in NYC 2020 (Jan 21-Feb 9) then I got drunk on a plane and decided to look into its roots. Blame the lethal cocktail of drunken curiosity combined with literally anything to distract me from the fact that I’m 30,000 feet in the air.

Anyway, here are some fun facts about Restaurant Week! You’ll walk away being a smarter person, or at the very least, well-prepared with some conversation starters at your next work happy hour or Hinge date.

Fun Facts about Restaurant Week NYC

  1. The first Restaurant Week menu was launched in July 1992, and was only executed for lunch service
  2. RW was the brainchild of Joe Baum and Tim Zagat
  3. It was thought up to coincide with the Democratic National Convention, since the city was flooded with reporters, delegates, etc looking for dining options in NYC
  4. RW was initially a summer thing (the DNC was in July), but it was so successful, they launched winter RW in the year 2000. #memories
  5. The initial prices were $24.07 for lunch (I’m still trying to find the reasoning behind that bizarre price) and $35 for dinner. Usually consisting of 2-courses for lunch, and 3-courses for dinner
  6. Saturdays are usually excluded, and some very high-end restaurants only offer the prix-fixe menus during lunch
  7. The prices have gone up slightly over the years, now at $26 for lunch (2-courses) and $42 for dinner (3-courses)
  8. The “week” in Restaurant Week has become “weeks” over the years, due to its overwhelming success. Each year it lasts at least two weeks, sometimes three
  9. The participating restaurants can be found on NYCGO.com, and most of them are in Manhattan (Brooklyn has 8, Queens has 3, BX and Staten Island have 1 each)

Now please see below – these are just a few spots of the rather large selection, recommended based on my experience/word of mouth.

Ai Fiori (only lunch, offered Monday-Friday)
2-course lunch for $26, 3-course lunch for $32
Recommend Beef Tartare or Butternut Squash Soup (appetizers)
House Made Tagliatelle with Pomodoro Sauce (main course)
Torta with Coconut, Pineapple and Vanilla (dessert)
400 5th Avenue (2nd level), New York, NY 10018
(212) 613-8660
Menu

21 Club (recommended for lunch or dinner, offered Monday-Friday)
If you love that “Old New York” feel, this is a must-try
Recommend the “21” Caesar Salad (appetizer)
Creamy Veal Stew or Half-Roasted Chicken (main course)
Truffle Mac n Cheese (side, additional $8)
Flourless Chocoloate Torte or Banana Bread Pudding (dessert)
21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019
(212) 582-7200
Menu

Bar Boulud (recommended for dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
French restaurant – recommend Tuna Crudo and Parisian Beef Tartare (appetizers)
Canard Aux Pommes and Bavette Steak Frites (main course)
Mousse au Chocolat (dessert)
1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
(212) 595-0303
Menu

Bar Primi (recommended for dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
Italian restaurant – recommend burrata and cauliflower cacvio e pepe (appetizers)
Trofie Pasta with Veal Bolognese or Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (main course)
Ricotta Panna Cotta (dessert)
325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003
(212) 220-9100
Menu

Beauty & Essex (only dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
Comes with a cocktail for dinner
Recommend Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos (appetizer)
Grilled Atlantic Salmon (main course)
Doughnuts (dessert)
146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
(212) 614-0146
Menu

Bluebird London (recommended for lunch, Monday-Friday)
Jersey Leeks with Truffle Dressing (appetizer)
Pork Schnitzel (main course)
10 Columbus Circle @ 58th Street, 3rd Floor
(347) 682-2100
Menu

Catch NYC (recommended for dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
Salmon Belly Carpaccio (appetizer)
Mushroom Spaghetti or Simply Grilled Salmon (main course)
Fresh Baked Cookies (dessert)
21 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014
(212) 392-5978
Menu

Catch Steak (only dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
King Salmon Rice Cake (appetizer)
Prime NY Strip (main course)
Snickers Bombe (dessert)
88 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
(212) 858-8899
Menu

Cecconi’s Dumbo (lunch and dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
Gorgeous space and views of the BK Bridge, recommended for lunch, they also have Restaurant Week Brunch!
Burrata (appetizer)
Campanelle with pesto or Tagliatelle Bolognese (main course)
$20 supplement for pizza, but if you go with one, the Spicy Salami is the move!
55 Water Street, Brooklyn NY 11201
(718) 650-3900
Menu

Indochine (only dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
Spicy Beef Salad and Beef Tartare (appetizers)
Shaking Beef and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms (main course)
Lemon Tart (dessert)
430 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-5111
Menu 

Morimoto NY (recommended for dinner, Monday-Friday)
Comes with a specialty cocktail
Tuna Tartare (appetizers)
Skirt Steak or Sashimi combo (main course)
Azuki Panna Cotta (dessert)
88 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-8883
Menu

Nobu Downtown (only lunch, offered Monday-Friday)
Tuna Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa Dressing or Yellowtail Sashimi Jalapeño (appetizers)
Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce or Skirt Steak Anticucho (main course)
195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
(212) 219-0500
Menu

The Library at the Public (only dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
Fish tacos (appetizer)
Fish & chips or Pasta (main course)
Apple Crumble (dessert)
425 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003
(212) 539-8777
Menu

The Morgan Dining Room (only lunch, offered Monday-Friday)
Weekend brunch offers a cocktail, coffee and a main course for just $19
The pierpont salad (appetizer)
Hanger Steak (main course)
225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016
(212) 683-2130
Menu

Tao Uptown (only lunch, offered Monday-Friday)
Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers (appetizer)
Asian BBQ Hanger Steak and Spiced Fries or Sashimi Chirashi Bowl (main course)
$5+ for dessert
42 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022
(212) 888-2288
Menu

Tavern on the Green (recommended for dinner, offered Monday-Friday)
Caramelized Garlic Shrimp (appetizer)
White Wine Braised Beef Short Rib (main course)
Warm Apple Crisp (dessert)
$20 additional wine pairing (optional)
67th Street & Central Park West
212-877-8684
Menu

Vandal (only dinner, offered Monday-Friday & Sunday)
Great vibe
Seared Nori Spiced Tuna Roll (appetizer)
Prime Skirt Steak (main course)
Pecan Pie Milkshake (dessert)
199 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
(212) 400-0199
Menu

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