New York City’s biannual Restaurant Week always seems to sneak up out of nowhere. Perhaps this is because, despite their eagerness to get patrons who otherwise wouldn’t visit their places of business through the door, restaurants are all too aware that savvy gourmands will do whatever they can to squeeze out every last drop out of a screaming deal.
In this case, the drops ripe for squeezing all contain alcohol. Establishments participating in Restaurant Week are honor-bound to serve $26 two-course lunches and $42 three-course dinner selections, but tips, tax and beverages are not included in the offer. And as we all know, those date-night gimlets and margaritas can really add up. But never fear: Observer has found the restaurants offering low-key killer booze deals (through February 8, that is). So hop to it!
Denizens of Korean barbecue know that you’re sometimes required to do a bit of the cooking yourself. If this doesn’t deter you, Bann in Hell’s Kitchen is offering simmering Bi Bim Bap, pork spare ribs and Atlantic salmon, paired with $11 cocktails that you can snag even more cheaply at happy hour, which runs nightly until 9 p.m.
Burke & Wills
For those seeking down-under vibes on the Upper West Side, sidle on up to this cozy Australian bistro. Burke & Wills features a raw bar and a rotating rotisserie selection, and its Restaurant Week menu includes the option of adding paired wines with its three-course dinner for $27.
Tavern on the Green
Hands-down one of the most elegant places to eat, dance or simply wander around and enjoy your surroundings in Manhattan, Tavern on the Green is a New York institution like Tiffany’s or the Mets. Its Restaurant Week offerings (Chatham codfish, endive salad, the works) can be supplemented with chef-selected wine pairings. Expect to spend approximately $15 per glass.
If you’re trying to keep your meals reasonably light (but still delicious) in the new year, HanGawi‘s vegetarian Korean options could be right up your alley. Pumpkin noodles with mushrooms and a steamboat filled with wild sesame soup would go great with its Restaurant Week special, a custom cocktail made for the occasion, but we also recommend its $25 wine samplers to get more bang for your buck.
CUT by Wolfgang Puck
Even if you’re not into filet mignon, there are plenty of options for the only cautiously carnivorous at the famed chef’s trademark California-style steakhouse. After you’ve kicked things off with CUT‘s three cheese tortellini and before you’ve started to eye the desert menu, you can wash down your entree with sommelier-select red and white wines for $35.
Some diners are content to snap pictures of their meals even if they’re being served in out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall establishments, but not you: You’re all about the atmosphere. Aretsky’s Patroon, located in the shadow of the Chrysler Building, is where you should head. In addition to delicacies like Wagyu beef stew, grilled quail and three-course wine supplements for $38 ($15 if you’d prefer to pay by the glass), you’ll find walls dotted with photographs by the likes of Helmut Newton. Plus, the view isn’t bad either.
Park Avenue Winter
The desserts hold the biggest appeal at Park Avenue Winter. Sticky toffee pudding, cinnamon chocolate crème brûlée and even something called a “broken holiday ornament” are all on the table for Restaurant Week. As for booze, you can share sommelier-approved bottles with the table or your loved one, or you could keep it all for yourself for $20 per glass.
Speaking from personal experience here: It would be a very bad idea to overlook Delmonico’s. The classic, positively opulent Financial District (but don’t let that deter you) steakhouse has been in business since 1837, and is in fact so iconic that it’s New York City’s first a la carte restaurant. To accompany your petite filet mignon, the restaurant is offering Restaurant Week–specific bottles of wine for $42 and glasses of wine for $12.
Junoon covers all the bases of traditional Indian cooking, and then some: The Restaurant Week selections include tandoor chicken thigh, decolonized poussin, pork mundu chili and the option to add a chef-selected glass to each of the three courses you’ll enjoy ($14-$20).
A three-kitchen tribute to hyper-modern Japanese cuisine in Midtown, Zuma will hit you with the shot of sophistication you’ve been craving in the hardy winter months. Its Restaurant Week options include the choice to supplement your meal with crafted cocktails like the $18 Zuma mai tai (Zuma rum grog, pineapple, blood orange, plum, lime and almond).
Seasonal ingredients? Hell, yeah. Absolutely gigantic helpings of succulent seafood in a light, casual setting? You guessed it! For Montauk striped bass right off Irving Plaza, Almond Flatiron is here for you. The Restaurant Week options include glass-per-course wine pairings. Might we suggest the $14 rosé from Cava, Spain?
Thomas Chen’s much-lauded East Village eatery is packed to the brim with Asian Fusion fare that is as succulent as it is surprising. Tuome‘s Restaurant Week options are rich and creamy, and the best-looking choice appears to be the Pig Out for two: Berkshire pork, spicy peanut noodles and whatever condiments your heart desires. Plus, bottles of sommelier-approved vintages with your table! The cheapest Italian red on their wine list is La Kiuva Vallée d’Aosta (2016), and it’s just $45.
If you’re up for withstanding hordes of startup bros, Zengo in Murray Hill offers a unique blend of Latin-Asian influences to render dishes that won head chef Richard Sandoval the accolade of Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year. The venue is offering specialty cocktails for Restaurant Week, but stick with the sangria if you’re headed there for dinner: A glass will only set you back $12, and the cocktails cost at least $3 more.
This one is important. Not only is Bâtard (Austrian cuisine, really high-end) the winner of the 2015 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, but the place has a freakin’ Michelin star, OK? That’s like an Academy Award in the food world. Plus, it’s one of the only restaurants participating in Restaurant Week that bothered to come up with limited-edition drinks for the occasion: alcohol-free hibiscus mules for $7 (a steal for those of us doing Dry January) and an $11 Summer Spritz with Bergamot liqueur, dry cider, sparking wine and celery bitters. Honestly, good luck getting a reservation.
And here we are, the Holy Grail: Thalassa, an elegant and down-to-earth eatery built to resemble an in-house fish market, has the longest Greek wine list in the city. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the sound of Dionysus rolling over in his celestial grave. While topping off your salmon filet or fingerling potatoes with a Mastiha Panna Cotta with poached pear, you can enjoy the Restaurant Week drinks special: a bottle of vintage signed off on by a sommelier. You’ll be hard-pressed to find just one thing you like from its mammoth wine list, though.