Should I Squeeze in a Restaurant Week Deal This Weekend?

Categories: Ask the Critics

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So I heard some of the Restaurant Week deals were extended through Labor Day weekend. Which places should I go to this weekend while I'm stuck in town? - My Voice colleagues

Dear colleagues,

At the risk of sounding a bit cranky, I suggest you ignore the extension and skip participating restaurants over Labor Day weekend.

Restaurant Week is promoted by NYC & Company, the City's marketing organization -- the idea is to give the restaurant industry a huge boost in sales with a widely advertised, cheap set menu ($24.07 for a three-course lunch). Though it stretches far beyond an actual week now, Tim Zagat reminds us that it was originally a friendly, four-day-long deal for the 15,000 reporters visiting New York in 1992 to cover the Democratic National Convention.

Fast forward to 2012. Many of the participating restaurants are mediocre. Others are great but during the promotion you're not likely to see them at their best: The food options will be limited, the dining rooms will be busy, and the service will generally not shine. The prices may sound sweet, but chances are these meals really won't be worth your time.

If pushed, I might suggest Mas (la grillade) a lovely restaurant in the West Village run by Galen Zamarra, who cooks everything there over a series of carefully controlled wood fires and hot embers. The restaurant is two-storied but feels small and chic with its white tablecloths and big wines glasses -- it's the ideal spot for a fun, fancy lunch. But: The regular prix-fixe lunch menu is only four dollars more at $28, and it offers you far more options to choose from.

So you might want to just stick to grilling at home this weekend. You'll find the better deals after September 3.


Read the most recent posts on our food blog or check our longer weekly reviews. Contact the writer at trao@villagevoice.com.

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