Monday, January 11, 2010

Ready, Set, Go…To Winter Restaurant Week

By Pat Tanner

Restaurant weeks lure us in with what appear to be terrific opportunities to try out new spots. Sure, seats fill up in the blink of an eye at the big-name venues and yes, some restaurateurs dumb down their offerings, turning what should be a bargain into disappointment and resentment.

My experience is that these downsides are more likely to occur in major cities like New York. Here in Jersey, I have enjoyed first-rate dining experiences and have had a much easier time getting tables at my favorite places (and without playing on my name, btw). My advice? Rather than choose a restaurant you haven’t been to – even if it’s one you’ve been longing to try – stick with restaurants you know and like. And make reservations now.

Below is the scoop on several upcoming restaurant weeks. I’ve noted my favorite participants in each. Admittedly, the last entry is in Philadelphia – a major city – but the geographic scope is limited. Plus, it happens to feature some of my favorite spots.

Note that prices do not include beverages, gratuity, and tax.

Montclair Restaurant Week
Runs: Two weeks, from January 25 through February 7
Restaurants: 36
Offers: Fixed price dinners at $31, $1 of which is donated to local food charities
Best Bets: Either of Zod Arifai’s restaurants, Blu or his more casual Next Door;
CulinAriane, hotter than ever since Ariane Duarte’s star turn on Top Chef
Info at: (click on Restaurant Week icon)

Hudson Restaurant Week
Runs: February 1 through February 12
Restaurants: 31
Offers: Not yet specified, but you can sign up for email notification
Best Bets: From A to Z: the always pleasing Amanda’s and Zylo, the Tuscan
steakhouse at the W Hotel, both in Hoboken
Info at:

Atlantic City Restaurant Week
Runs: February 28 through March 6
Restaurants: 70, both casinos and independents, inside and outside the city
Offers: 3 course lunch: $15.10; 3 course dinner: $33.10 (some offer only one)
Best Bets: Izakaya and SeaBlue in the casinos; Tomatoes and Steve & Cookies in
Info at:

Center City Restaurant Week
Runs: Two weeks, January 17 through 22 and January 24 through 29
Restaurants: 119
Offers: 3 course lunch: $20; 3 course dinner: $35 (some offer only one)
Best Bets: Again A to Z: Amada (and other Jose Garces properties) and Zahav; not to
mention Eric Ripert’s 10 Arts and Le Bec-Fin
Info at: (click on Restaurant Week icon)

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