Saturday, August 30, 2008

NY Restaurant week is such a scam

I don't know what it is about a 'bargain' that drives some people crazy to spend, but it catches my wife every time.

I got a call from her today to say we were going out to dinner tonight to take advantage of 'Restaurant Week'.

For those of you who don't live in NY it's this concept that one week of the year all the restaurants run this special campaign where they run fixed price meals with a limited 3 course selection menu.

I don't know how many times we've tried it out but at least 3 (we've been here 4 years now).

So tonight we were off to the Fig and Olive in the Meat Packing district (always a bad sign when I eat at restaurants in that area but more about that later).

So the reason that they run this campaign is it's labor day weekend and basically half of New York disappears to their country houses or their weekenders in the Hampton's (lol can you tell I'm jealous).

Anyway, so it's an unfortunate fact that most of the restaurants for Restaurant Week choose dishes based on easy prep work.

We ordered the specials and even as I did so I was wishing I really should have ordered from the regular menu (i'll probably make a return trip to try it out again because some of it looked really good).

The carpaccio entree was ok, but the main was really really average, Jodie had fish which she liked but I thought was pretty basic, but my chicken dish may as well have been 'phoned in' from the beach which is where I think the chef was that night.

Maybe because I cook a lot so in my head I'm deconstructing the dish and working out the recipe but basically you could tell it had been prepped hours (days) earlier and warmed over for serving.

The only saving grace was the desert, chocolate tart was fantastic (though it's another dish that can be prepped and served at a much alter date). Went perfect with a pretty reasonable espresso.

I totally 'own' that if we had of gone any other time it could have been a really nice restaurant (decor was really good - though we got jammed into a corner and although the restaurant was only 1/3rd full they refused to move us).

All in all I'd probably go again but definitely not during restaurant week as the chef is obviously off on holidays in his head as well.

2 out of 5 stars at best.


P.S. here is my thing about the Meatpacking district. What is it about New Yorkers that they would ever consider eating in such a filthy stinky smelly area???

Yes I know the old buildings with the cobblestone streets is all romantic etc but would you fix the streets so that scummy water doesn't pool in the gutters and clear out the refuse and garbage that is on the footpaths....

It's easy to make fun of middle America for not knowing better as they dont own passports and haven't travelled internationally but Wake Up New's not trendy it's third world!!!

You can have 'tragically hip' but also have clear air to breath as's just what you demand with your patronage.....but hey what do I know - no one thinks I'm cool

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