Tag Archives: kutsher’s tribeca

Restaurant Week Wrap-Up: An on-going list of where to go for NYC RW (Updated Winter 2015)

6 Apr

I have now been writing about Restaurant Week for over 5 years. It is one of the most frequented sections on the blog, so I wanted to make it a bit easier and summarize the best, the good, and the bad. I will continue to add to this list as we try new places for Restaurant Week. (Last update is from Winter 2015)

A brief synopsis on Restaurant Week: Participating restaurants serve a prix fix, 3-course menu for lunch ($25) and dinner ($38). (Prices updated for Winter 2013). They participate on all weekdays for lunch, dinner, or both, and some also participate on Sundays. More information for each season, participating restaurants, and menus can be found here. You can also book most reservations on OpenTable, though the best reservations usually go as soon as the newest Restaurant Week is announced. There are two each year, one in the winter and one in the summer, and while it is called “Restaurant Week,” it is usually about 3 weeks long and some restaurants extend even beyond that.

So who had the best Restaurant Week menu? Who didn’t skimp on portions? Who obviously thinks Restaurant Week is a total waste of time? Read on! (Click on the restaurant name to link out to the original review I posted)

Top RW Noms (Book now! Even if RW is another 6 months away):

  1. ilili: I have been to ilili twice for Restaurant Week and I think they are the best of the best. Great selection, plentiful portions, and gosh darn GREAT food. Everyone left raving about it.
  2. all’onda: An amazing meal when not Restaurant Week, an amazing meal at a better value when it is Restaurant Week.  The up-charges are worth it for their (famous?) uni bucatini and the short rib for two.  I do not know how you cold possibly leave disappointed from all’onda.
  3. Riverpark: Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark does Restaurant Week right by featuring their usual menu so diners can try out the Restaurant exactly as intended. Each bite was fantastic and totally worth the supplemental charge, and we imagine would be totally worth it even if you don’t pay for any supplements.
  4. Bar Primi: Restaurant Week offers a great way to try this great restaurant.  They RW menu offered a great sampling of what the restaurant has to offer and felt like a great value for the quality of food. If you need an excuse to try this Caramellini favorite, let Restaurant Week be it!
  5. The National:  Chef Geoffrey Zakarian opened a restaurant that lives up to his impressively amazing looking television cooking.  The Restaurant Week menu here is one of the best with great dishes throughout. I would just be sure to add the delicious brussels sprouts to your order!
  6. Cafe Boulud: This was just barely edged out by the top restaurants. The braised veal cheeks and the chocolate dessert still both echo in my mind as some of the best bites I have EVER had. Their menu was limited, but there were enough items to keep me happy. I have been dying to go back.
  7. The Modern – Bar Room: Delicious. Small portions but well worth it (and it’s not like you leave hungry). Service was a terror, but the food made up for it. (I went back for Summer 2011 and it was just as good and with great service this time around).
  8. Olives: Small selection but all very tasty. It’s a nice intro to a Todd English restaurant, especially since it’s usually a bit pricey
  9. General Assembly: A great choice for non-Restaurant Week that I keep recommending as a crowd favorite, an even better selection for Restaurant Week since you can sample the menu without spending too much money. Just be sure to add the side of corn creme brulee to your order!
  10. Barbounia: Fantastic food and good portions. Impressed by the food and the nice service. They understand that Restaurant Week is all about giving people a reason to return.
  11. Ai Fiori: They only participate in lunch, but it’s a very nice menu with some hits (the skate) and some misses (the terrine).  The skate alone was good enough to recommend despite the so-so terrine app.
  12. Butter (the original):We stuck exclusively to the Restaurant Week menu and enjoyed every bite. I wanted to lick every plate clean. Amazing flavors, fair portions, and a real taste for why Chef Alex Guarnaschelli won Next Iron Chef. We tried Butter Midtown but didn’t manage to reserve on the right day for Restaurant Week. Our first meal was fair but latter ones were better!

Average RW Noms (I’d probably go back and try them again, but they weren’t special enough to hit the list above):

  • Kutsher’s TriBeCa: This was a tough choice about making into the top category.  The only reason it’s here is because the meals above were just that good.  Restaurant Week is a very good way to try this restaurant, but I’d probably go for their regular menu just as easily.
  • City Hall: The food was quite tasty and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a meal at a classic New York establishment at Restaurant Week Prices without feeling like you’re getting Restaurant Week quality service and food, which is typically lackluster. I thought they put some creative dishes on the Restaurant Week menu (besides the usual chicken, fish, or meat selection that most have) and that we really got a taste for what’s on their regular menu.
  • Aquavit: The entrées here were a bit on the average side, however, the uniqueness of the food, the fun of doing a flight of Aquavit, and the INCREDIBLE desserts just barely pushed this one to the top list
  • Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza: This meal was good but there were a number of executional problems with the dishes and service. The menu is VERY limiting in comparison to the huge menu (that has many different stations), so you can’t truly enjoy what makes this a “Food Hall.”  I would probably not bother with Restaurant Week here and just go and get whatever you want off their regular menu.
  • Craft Bar: I can’t put this in the top list since we actually accidentally booked a reservation that was NOT Restaurant Week (be sure to review the list carefully so you know who serves on weekends). I do think it may belong there, however, as the food was great and the servers were AMAZING about taking care of us since we made the mistake (they gave us 2 apps on the house)
  • Bread & Tulips: Everything was just fairly average.  The desserts were especially sub-par.  Passably good but just not good enough.
  • Pera: Very average. I didn’t feel like the food was anything outstanding but this place is always hopping and is convenient to Grand Central.  Probably no need to wait for Restaurant Week if this falls into a convenient meeting location to get a solid meal.
  • L’Ecole: This was very hit or miss. Amazing appetizers followed by a total let-down for the entrees and so-so desserts. They also billed their lobster as the “Rolls-Royce” of lobsters and it was one of the worst I’ve had.  And from our experience, don’t bother with the wine pairing.
  • Millesime: The food here was fair, with a stand-out dessert that elevated the meal. I was disappointed by my pasta dish due to its blandness, but those that ate off the regular menu seemed to enjoy their dishes.
  • Black Duck: A solid Restaurant Week experience. The initial choice of fish, chicken, or pasta wasn’t an awesome selection, but each dish tasted great. I would like to try this place again and order off the regular menu.
  • Tribeca Grill: My short ribs were pretty good, but I’ve seen better Restaurant Week menus and tried better food. I’m not sure if this was the fault of RW or if the restaurant itself just isn’t top of the heap.
  • Delmonico’s: Good but not great. I’ve had better steaks in Manhattan by far, but there is something fun about going to this place just for the history of it.
  • Ruth’s Chris: Been meaning to try this place but haven’t gotten around to it? Restaurant Week is a good time to get a taste. Their regular specials menu is also quite good, so if you don’t make it for RW, it’s okay.
  • Asellina: Total average in every way.  Standard food that was good but not great.  A solid choice but not a top one.
  • Blue Smoke: A great meal, as always, but it’s reasonable enough to go anytime rather than making a special Restaurant Week reservation to check it out.
  • Angelo and Maxies: I was actually impressed with this place, but I think their non- Restaurant Week offering is probably just as good. (NOW CLOSED)
  • 10 Downing: We had an enjoyable experience here, however, something just wasn’t totally right for most of the meal. Service was spotty, there were too many inedible things on my plate (shallot skin? garlic skin? seriously untrimmed meat?) Everything was plated beautifully with a lot of attention to detail, color, and the season (summer). Not to mention, one of the best panna cottas I’ve ever tasted. (NOW CLOSED)

Disappointing RW Noms (Not sure why they bother with Restaurant Week):

  • Park Avenue (Summer): While we had some great nibbles, it really felt as if this is one of those restaurants that doesn’t like Restaurant Week and it comes out in their food. I might try them again for their regular menu, but I wouldn’t suggest it for Restaurant Week at all.
  • Perry Street: Come on Jean Georges! I expect more from you. Nothing was bad, but nothing was great. A Restaurant Week faux pas perhaps.

Bad RW Noms (Just plain wrong):

  • Villard Michel Richard: After a fantastic dessert tasting in Chef Richard’s new bakery shop (Pomme Palais), we were curious to try the restaurants in the same hotel, but scathing reviews had us tentative to try at full price. Restaurant Week proved the perfect excuse to check it out, and it proved all those reviews absolutely right.
  • Mercer Kitchen: Awful in every way. This place is what gives Restaurant Week a bad name. Awful menu. Small portions. Food that seemed like it could have been cooked at McDonald’s. I haven’t been able to eat cooked salmon since this night. It was THAT bad.
  • Russian Tea Room: Bad service. Food that hardly could pass for wedding food. This place could have such great potential as a NYC icon but instead, it’s just tacky and bad.

What are your favorite Restaurant Week places?

Where are you trying out this year?


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Restaurant Week Summer 2013: Kutsher’s TriBeCa

3 Aug

We went to Kutsher’s TriBeCa when it first opened and had a pretty good meal with pretty lousy service.  Looking back on our last meal, a lot has certainly changed in the food, and our service this time around had no faults (and was actually quite lovely with a friendly waitress).

The space fits well in TriBeCa with a modern, industrial look.




The restaurant was not busy at all, but it was a Tuesday night.


The menu is quite large, but the Restaurant Week menu, while limited, had a good selection from around the big menu.


I saw that they had homemade Apple Pie soda on the menu and had to try it. Sure enough, it tasted like apple pie you can drink.  I really enjoyed this.  (Mike wound up making up his own drink by combining this with bourbon. It was awesome).


One of our friends started with the wild Alaskan cod gefilte fish. Gefilte fish is something typically relegated to Passover dinners where kids turn their noses up at it with exclamations of “ewwww” while many adults secretly can’t wait for Passover to come again just to have a reason to eat it. Gefilte fish is typically described as a fish cake, but that really doesn’t explain it at all. It’s a wet lump of fish parts, basically.  It took me years to even agree to try it again, and now I actually enjoy it.  But not more than once a year.

ANYWAY… back to our meal.  The combination of the gefilte fish with beets was nice, but the horseradish (typically served with gefilte fish) was a bit much for me. I’m really not a fan of horseradish, however, and everyone else enjoyed it.



I got the latkes, which last time were only fair.  Comparing this to the picture from last time shows VAST improvements.  These were crispy and the bits of potato that were hanging off reminded me of potato sticks.  Last time they were a bit soggy whereas this time they were crisped up nicely with a great potato mixture inside.  The apple sauce on the side was also thick and nicely flavored.  I wish the sour cream was a bit more sour, but it was still good.



Mike ordered off the Restaurant Week menu to get the crispy artichokes because he knows I absolutely love artichokes.  Last time, we LOVED this dish.  This time, it was pretty good but not as great as last time.  The crispy parsley was missing and the artichokes didn’t have enough crisp. But I never would have faulted this dish had it not been so outstanding last time.


Both of our friends got the salmon off the Restaurant Week menu.  They both enjoyed this very much.


I got the brisket off the Restaurant Week menu.  I was having some camera trouble and it looks like I somehow failed to save a picture of it!  (Damn)  It came over a BBQ sauce that was quite good and the meat was flavorful without being overly fatty.  I have a problem where all brisket is compared to my grandmother’s brisket, which means all brisket is fair at best.

Mike went off the Restaurant Week menu to get the burger.


This came with a fried onion ring filled with cole slaw on top of a cheeseburger and latkes on the side.  It was a bit big once the onion ring was on top, but he said it was a nice juicy burger.



We also got some matzo crusted onion rings on the side.  These were well seasoned and the matzo crunch was nice.



For dessert, our friend got the coconut cake which he loved so much he refused to share it (just kidding, he offered, but not convincingly).


And I got the rainbow cookie ice cream cake. I loved this in theory, but it was missing the signature almond flavor that make rainbow cookies so good.  The ice cream inside was also a bit lacking in flavor.  It would have been nice if this had been strongly almond flavored to bring it all together.


One nice thing that Kutsher’s TriBeCa did is give out a “Dine Again Card.” This was the first time I’ve seen this, but it was a nice touch and really brings the entire purpose (in my opinion) of Restaurant Week full circle.  The goal is to get you to try a new place (or try a place again that was so-so in the past to give it a second shot) with the hope that you will come back.  Why not give people a reason to?


As far as Restaurant Week goes, I wouldn’t say this was my favorite meal. But I think it was a good value for what we got and I’m glad we got to try it again and see that the kinks have been ironed out (at least on a Tuesday night).  I enjoyed it and would happily return (especially for free latkes!)  This is the perfect place to bring the family when they’re in town. A little fancy, but a little bit of home and what we all grew up on.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

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