Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weekend Cooking- Restaurant Week in NYC

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

A few times a year, Restaurant Week is celebrated in NYC. Close to 400 restaurants offer three course pre-fixe lunch ($29) and dinner ($42) menus to give diners a chance to sample restaurants they may not normally get to try.

Restaurant Week this summer runs July 25th-August 19th, and we visited three restaurants this week; two we have been to before- Smith & Wollensky and The Bull and Bear at the Waldorf Astoria- and a new one, Scarpetta.

When we arrived at Smith & Wollensky, they whisked us up to the second floor where apparently all the Restaurant Week diners were seated. The meal was good, split pea soup, and surf and turf for my husband (a $10 upcharge) and caesar salad, and roast beef hash for me. (My husband was happy that there was enough hash leftover for his breakfast the next day,) We both had the chocolate mousse cake for dessert, and we had an entire piece of cake leftover for the next night's dinner. The service was fine, but efficient, they definitely wanted to turn the table over. We were out of there in less than an hour, there was no lingering.

We brought one of our sons to Bull and Bear, where we had a table in the middle of the dining room. We had to ask for the Restaurant Week menu, but the service was excellent and we didn't feel rushed. My husband loves their Onion Gratinee Soup, so he was thrilled it was on the menu. It was delicious, although my son said that it was too hot for soup, so he missed out.
Onion Gratinee Soup

There were three entrees, so we each had one- I had the burger and fries, my husband had the roast chicken, and our son had the skirt steak. They were all fine, nothing too exciting. We had red velvet cake for dessert, and that was good too. The Onion Gratinee Soup was the highlight of the meal.

Last night, we met at Scarpetta, located near the High Line. It's tucked into 14th Street just before 9th Avenue, and the sign is so small, my husband and I both missed it. We started with a martini that was very refreshing and light, made with chambord.

Our server was wonderful very welcoming and he took the time to explain the Restaurant Week menu and make suggestions. We started with the Creamy Polenta with truffled mushrooms which was out- of-this-world good.
Creamy Polenta

We moved onto the Spaghetti with tomato and basil, which is a signature dish there.Even though it didn't have meatballs, which disappointed my husband, when we ate it, we both decided that it was not missing any flavor. That was the best spaghetti we've ever had, creamy with parmesan cheese mixed in.

I had the Valrhona Chocolate Cake with chocolate caramel butterscotch gelato and while it was small in portion, it was big in flavor. My husband was not as excited about his Coconut Panna Cotta.

Chocolate Cake
Scarpetta was the clear winner here, and they wisely used the opportunity to sell us on coming back to their restaurant. Our server told us about other menu items we may like to try next time, something the other two restaurants did not do so well.

Restaurant Week is an opportunity to showcase your restaurant and create new customers. Some places treat the Restaurant Week diners as an annoyance, people who are just there to get a cheap meal, whereas the smart places know that once you get people in the door, it's up to you to bring them back. We will go back to Scarpetta.

For more on Restaurant Week, visit their website here.


  1. As a resident of a small town, I love hearing about first-hand New York restaurant experiences by non-celebrities (I gather you are not a celeb, and that's a compliment). Thanks for sharing.

    best... mae at

  2. We have a restaurant week here, too, but it's obviously not as large or as varied as yours. I've been to Smith & Wollensky and thought it was okay - their portions were too large for me and when you're visiting you can't take leftovers. Scarpetta sounds wonderful - I want to try it out the next time I'm in the city.

  3. What great idea! I'm having one of those moments of wishing I lived in the city :)

  4. Restaurant Week sounds like such a fun way to try out new restaurants! That chocolate cake sounds amazing and looks gorgeous and that creamy polenta has my mouth watering.

  5. Love trying places during restaurant week!

  6. We have Summerlicious here (and Winterlicious) which is the same idea. We didn't get to any this month just ran out of time.

  7. Honolulu does something like that every year. The Creamy Polenta with truffled mushrooms is calling my name.

  8. Couldn't agree with you more. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  9. We have a restaurant here in Kansas City and I would say the reaction is the same: some are kind and accommodating, hoping to find new customers for life - and others are less than charming.

  10. We were just in Manhattan Thursday and Friday night... wish I'd realized it was Restaurant Week! Oh, well. Got to check out neighborhood places around our daughters' new apartment on the upper west side. Looking forward to a longer visit in the fall. Maybe we can get coffee.

  11. I love a good restaurant week! ;-) Everything you ate looks delicious--especially that Onion Gratinee Soup. Yum!