Five Great Affordable Tasting Menus in NYC

Categories: Listed

Thumbnail image for contrachicken2.jpg
Bradley Hawks
Contra's chicken
Multi-course degustation journeys have proliferated in this city over the years, and while an hours-long feast can make for a unique dining experience, the expense can take a toll. Lately, some niche restaurants have offered a solution: four- to five-course menus that don't break the bank and change regularly, depending on what's fresh that day. Here are five great tasting menus in NYC, all $55 and under plus tax and tip.

Contra, 138 Orchard Street, 212-466-4633
$55 for five courses
At this LES 44-seater from savvy gastronomes Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske, a restaurant signboard flickers in neon and alternative rock hums in the background. The duo offers a $55 five-course menu of thoughtful New American classics that echo dishes of their past. You might find crisp-skin chicken beautifully roasted and placed within the framework of chicken almondine with whole almonds, thin carrots, and a veil of seaweed jus. Or you might have a nuanced broccoli rabe balanced with a lemon confit and whole scallops and sharply garnished with rehydrated dried scallops. Dessert might be a combination of beet, yogurt, and hazelnut cremeux, a play that tastes like it could have been deconstructed from red-velvet pudding; that final course might be preceded by a bright tangerine granita with light-as-air popcorn mousse. No telling, since the menu changes every day.

Laura Shunk
Sushi Dojo, 110 First Avenue, 646-692-9398
$45 for 10 pieces of nigiri
Everything in David Bouhadana's East Village temple of pristine edomae-style sushi screams upscale -- except for the prices. $45 buys you an omakase experience that exceeds most others in the city. You'll eat two kinds of fatty tuna -- otoro and chutoro -- and creamy, sweet lobes of uni from Santa Barbara (or, if you'd like, from Maine or Hokkaido) on loosely-packed warm rice. Silvery skin-on kohada (seabream) glistens like armor; sweet amaebi (shrimp) is sweet and supple, deep orange Alaskan king salmon is clean and luxurious, and fatty saba or a satiny fluke might be dotted with monkfish liver. Extra pieces are modestly priced a la carte, so ask for more if you're still hungry.

Location Info


138 Orchard Street, New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Gramercy Tavern

42 E. 20th St., New York, NY

Category: Music


90 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Restaurant


186 Ave. B, New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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I would hesitate to call three courses a "tasting menu" - though the actual tasting menu at Aska is very reasonably priced for what you get.

You might mention some of the great lunch deal tasting menus - Gramercy Tavern ($59 for the fancier main dining room tasting) or Bouley ($55 for a five-course tasting) etc.


Great article.  Also, check out pompette - in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.  They have 5-course chef's spontaneous tasting menu for $58 including L'amuse bouche.  Chef Matt Bernero who has worked at Daniel and Boulud Sud creates medley of contemporary French bistro plates.  It changes every day, so no two are the same.