Local Upstate NY chef Dominic Colose writes a lively blog in which, among other topics, he rails against restaurant weeks. He feels they pack his establishment with loutish bottom feeders (my words; he’s more polite) who swoop in for the spoils and will never be seen again.
While I’m sure there are some of those folks, there are also a lot of people who are lured in to try your restaurant and will come back at regular price. In fact, I lauded Chef Colose at his former establishment for a $30 meal that showed me his creativity in cooking and also in meeting a price point. And I criticized certain places that give lip service to restaurant week by, for example, tossing in a cookie with a salad and entrée at regular price and calling it a three course meal.
The 2017 Downtown Albany Restaurant Week (April 1-7) has a different idea, and I’m intrigued by it. Participating restaurants agree to serve at least $35 worth of food (which you could verify by checking the regular menu) for $20.17. It’s like a Groupon: you like getting a discount, but you know how much the meal is worth. (And, like with Groupon, you’ll hopefully know to tip on the full, non-discounted amount.)
Where am I going? Probably not Jack’s Oyster House which will serve me a green salad, tilapia and bread pudding for my $20.17. I don’t doubt their regular prices add up to more than $35, but those are the lower priced items on any menu. City Beer Hall is MUCH better with an intriguing menu that has too many good choices. I think I’ll go for the charcuterie, grilled skate wing and matcha tea panna cotta. They currently have the magnificent Rushing Duck War Elephant DIPA on tap, so I know what I’m going to do with that $15 savings.