Monday, July 19, 2010

Week of July 20 – July 26, 2010

Enjoying food in the great outdoors feels like a mini vacation – a “staycation” if you will, and serves as a glorious escape from an overscheduled NYC day, night or weekend. When your eye catches the sizzling plate of a lucky patron’s table, your senses are lit and put into action. Your clock slows down and you succinctly feel more relaxed, the sun warm on your skin or the moon shining brightly above you, the wind rustling your hair—and you think to yourself, where is the best seat outside this fragrant oasis? Your feet are now blindly following your eyes, and you select the best seat available in the middle of it all. You’re now in one of more than a thousand licensed “pleine-air” eateries, and this week some of the best are participating in this summer's NYC Restaurant Week! Yes people… Restaurant Week part deux has been extended from July 16 to July 25thth!

What is restaurant week?

For those who’ve never taken advantage of this week, or for those who are simply from “out of town,” restaurant week offers you the opportunity to dine at fine restaurants for a fraction of their normal prices. In almost all cases, the menus are more limited than their regular fair – and are planned in a way that is simple and unobtrusive to patrons, and to accommodate for the increased traffic brought on to these establishments from the notoriety of being a participating venue. Despite the logistics involved in pulling off a successful “week run”, for just $24 per person for lunch or $35 per person for dinner (prices do not include drinks, taxes or tips) patrons can experience some of New York's most exclusive restaurant provisions.

Are there any cross promotions occurring as well during Restaurant Week?

I’m so glad you’ve asked : ) There are always cross promotions with a grand ‘ole event like this! GEM will showcase two that may peak your interest:

*Get $15 back as a credit on your AMEX statement when you register and use any American Express card to dine out three or more times at any of the 250+ vendors participating in this summer’s NYC Restaurant Week. For enrollment details and special merchant offer terms please click here.

*Do any of you want to take a REAL trip outside NYC? Well this week, two lucky winners will receive two round-trip flights on JetBlue (the King of “more leg-room”), two nights’ accommodations in a luxury hotel, a unique dining experience for two, two tickets to a theatre show, among other amenities! . For enrollment details and special merchant offer terms please click here.

Which restaurants are participating?

For a list of restaurants participating in Restaurant Week you may browse by neighborhood or cuisine here. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling the participating restaurant of your choice or online via Special Notice: Some of Manhattan's finer restaurants do have and enforce dress codes. It is recommended that you ask about the dress code policy when you make your reservation or you may be turned away.

GEM NYC recommends the following “alfresco” venues for your next lunch or dinner feast:

ViceVersa Restaurant

ViceVersa is nestled among a number of French bistros in the Theatre District. Its sophisticated and sleek decor sets the tone for the contemporary Italian cuisine. The traditional Italian fare is tough to beat as it’s graced by the sous-chefs of Central Park South’s San Domenico Restaurant. For dessert, you may wish to try a selection of gourmet gelatos and sorbets for a cool ending to a meal enjoyed out on the plant-filled back patio, a welcome retreat from the busy Midtown streets out front. Simply take the C/E to 50th street, and you’ll find it nestled between 8th and 9th avenues. Just note, the terrace seating will be available on a first come first serve basis – so get there early! To view the mouth-watering Restaurant Week prix-fixe menu click here.

Central Park’s Boathouse

The iconic Central Park Boathouse allows you to savor upscale cuisine at the waterfront restaurant or relax with beer and burgers at the Express Cafe as boats and birds glide by in the water. After you eat, rent a bike or a rowboat to continue your “all-day” Central Park tour. Simply take the 1 train to 72nd street. To view their lunch or dinner prix-fixe menu click here.

Cipriani’s on Wall Street

When you think of the epitome in gourmet food and upscale hospitality, you immediately remember the brand Cipriani. So this is your lucky week because in the heart of New York City's Financial District, you can dine like the stars at Cipriani of Wall Street, and enjoy Restaurant Week prices. Located in the historic Merchants Exchange Building at 55 Wall St., the restaurant is open from 6:30am to 10:30pm Monday through Friday. With an outdoor terrace among the building's granite columns, Cipriani of Wall Street is perfect for dining “alfresco” or meeting for after-work drinks. The terrace features unparalleled views of Wall Street and is open year-round. You’ll want to call ahead because the terrace seating is limited, and is most times reserved by tourist groups. Simply take the 2/3/4 trains to Wall Street, and make sure to call in advance to reserve your spot: 212-699-4096.

Water’s Edge in Queens

Well, contrary to popular belief, Manhattan is not the center of the world – and if it were, the world would be flat (^_^). So for those who are brave enough to venture outside the great enclaves of the Manhattan Island, perhaps you should try Water’s Edge restaurant. It’s one of the few spots in Queens with a fantastic view of the East River from Long Island City. I recommend that you make a reservation beforehand and also request a table on the restaurant's outdoor terrace, where you'll sit just inches from the river with a dramatic view of the Manhattan skyline as backdrop. The impressive, seafood-heavy menu features a macadamia nut–crusted wild salmon and licorice-dusted duck breast, YUMMY! To view the mouth-watering Restaurant Week menu click here. You’ll want to consider calling in advance for the best table “outside” the house - (718) 482-0033, and view driving and mass transit directions by clicking here.

Terrace in the Sky, Columbia University

Located at Columbia University’s Butler Hall, Terrace in the Sky has been the original upper west dining pioneer for 30 years. To the north, you can spy Harlem and the Bronx, and south, the college campus and the northern boundary of Central Park. Panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline coupled with superb cuisine from executive chef Jason Potanovich make little oasis a dining experience not to be missed. The food is a mix of French with American flair, with crowd-pleasers like duck-confit risotto and crème brûlée—which are both included on the NYC Restaurant Week menu. Simply take the Number 1 train to 116th Street – and complimentary valet parking is offered after 6PM for dinner. For more information view their prix-fixe menu and visit their site here.

So whether it’s on the upper west side, lower east side, or outside of Manhattan Island, just make sure to bring your sunglasses, a fabulous date – and much appetite to this week’s alfresco Restaurant Week! Enjoy, and forget about the treadmill until further notice : )

Your’s truly, GEM


Blog Directory blog directory Blog Directory