New York City’s finest foods for half the price

By Heather Fiore

fioreh@theridernews.com

The calamari is tender and crispy.
The filet pairs well with asparagus.
The pecan pie finishes off the meal.

Have you ever wanted to go to one of New York City’s finest restaurants but couldn’t afford it? Well, now you have the chance.

Every year, New York City holds an event called Restaurant Week, which offers a plethora of the city’s top restaurants for essentially half of the price. This year the event was held in February and a hefty list of 220 restaurants participated.

The restaurants that choose to participate offer fixed menus for both lunch and dinner; every restaurant has the same fixed prices. Lunch prices are fixed at $24.07 per person and dinner prices at $35 per person, excluding drinks, tax and gratuity. The restaurants offer three courses for lunch and dinner where each diner can choose an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Originally, the event was only supposed to be held until Feb. 6, but has now been extended to Feb. 27. You have the choice of reserving your table at the restaurant of your choice on the website, www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek, or taking the chance of just going to the restaurant on the day of your choice.

Being the food enthusiast that I am, I had to check it out. So, my friend Kenny and I took the trip to one of the most anticipated restaurants on the list, City Lobster & Steak, which is located in the heart of Manhattan at 121 W. 49th St. and 6th Ave.

Upon our arrival, Kenny and I were expecting small portions, slower service and an overflow of people — all of which we didn’t experience. We were seated right on time for our 5:30 reservation at a comfortable table for two. The restaurant was dimly lit with about 30 tables and 15 servers, who were all overly attentive. The bar area, which occupied a generous amount of guests at that time, took up about one-third of the restaurant.

Immediately after we sat down, we were handed the restaurant’s original menu and the fixed menu. After a refreshing glass of some of the best Pinot Grigio I’ve ever had, we decided to choose two appetizers to share, an entrée to enjoy and two desserts to indulge in.

For the appetizers, we chose the crispy “point Judith” calamari and wild mushroom ravioli. Not only were the portions plenty for one, even both of us couldn’t finish. But, the food melted in my mouth. The calamari was perfectly tender, seasoned with basil and ginger and paired with a Thai chili-lime aioli. The mushroom raviolis, garnished with reasonable chunks of lobster claw and pecorino, were out of this world.

Both of us chose the same entrée, which was the petite filet mignon “Oscar.” The filet was cooked exactly to order — medium for myself and rare for Kenny — and delicately smothered with lump lobster and crabmeat, béarnaise sauce and asparagus.

Lastly and most memorable was the dessert course. We shared the chocolate bourbon pecan pie and the homemade key lime pie. The pecan pie was, by far, the winner of the night; the pecans inside mimicked the nuts you would find on the street corners, and to make things even better, it was topped with a heaping dollop of vanilla ice cream. The key lime pie was also prepared just the way I like it: creamy and tart.

Needless to say, Kenny and I left satisfied, with our stomachs in full agreement.

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