Restaurant Week 2011: Thrifty, Nifty Cuisine Is Back
Participating restaurants in the Washington, D.C., suburb Bethesda, Md., and Hudson County, N.Y., boast the cheapest lunches at around $12, according to a list supplied for WalletPop by the promotion's organizer, OpenTable, an online reservation site. Sonoma County, Calif., Oakland, Calif., and the state of New Mexico are offering multiple-course dinners for as low as $20.Restaurant Week is a 20-year-old tradition that invites diners to dig into haute cuisine at easy-to-swallow prices during slow times for the restaurant biz. The Mrs. and I have used the promotion to get our money's worth at Nobu, a Japanese eatery that still draws throngs of foodies in lower-Manhattan.
OpenTable spokesman Scott Jampol said to WalletPop, "Restaurant Week offers an equation that's hard to beat: It's a great opportunity for diners and a great opportunity for restaurants to meet new diners."
Perhaps in recognition of an economy that has flattened like a busted souffle, New York City has kept its prices at $24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner. Los Angeles and surrounding cities top the high end at $44 for a prix-fixe dinner (but L.A. also offers $26 and $34 options.)
One of the better bargains for both lunch and dinner is offered by Raleigh, N.C. -- a $15 lunch and $30 dinner.
Recognizing that some restaurants might offer price-fixed deals at other times (and maybe in a nod to the Groupon-ization of the industry), the promotion asks restaurants to whip up something unique for Restaurant Week to "keep it fresh and exciting," Jampol said.
"It's not a coupon type of thing," he said. "It's more of an easy way to visit an upscale restaurant."
Click here for the schedule of Restaurant Weeks. Don't forget to tip.