Sunday, August 14, 2011

Giving Restaurant Week a run for its value

The 2011 Summer Boston Restaurant Week is about to kick off with 12 days worth of opportunities to experience some of those off- the-budget restaurants for a special, low prix-fix. 
From the 14th-19th and the 21st-26th, at participating restaurants, you can choose from a two course lunch ($15.11), a three course lunch ($20.11) or a three course dinner ($33.11).

Now, although I do love the whole idea behind restaurant week, I have yet to have an experience that lives up to my anticipation...As can been seen by my last RW review, I have some major qualms...
Fortunately, I am one who likes to learn from mistakes and so I am quite prepared (and have recovered enough from my previous experience) to give it all another go:)

This time around, I will make sure to choose a restaurant that offers either an exceptional choice of menu, or better yet, their full menu. There is nothing worse than feeling as though you are being igven a sub par menu designed especially for the 'restaurant week crowd'.  If you check out the following link Restaurant Week, a complete list of participating restaurants and their menus can be found.  Peruse this with care and select a menu that suits your needs.
I will also not pick a restaurant that looks as though it is about to fall into a crumbling heap...aka Stay away from Anthony's Pier 4.

Ideally, I would like to combine location with acutal menu pricing and the breadth of choice.
Then again, maybe I go a different route and go for a place I have actually tried out (albeit on a much smaller appetizer sized scale) and would like to invest more into...I am thinking something along the lines of Top of the Hub...or Mistral?

As you will soon see, the decision is not an easy one to make.  Luckily, Restaurant Week comes about twice a year so I am hoping that I will eventually get it right.
For more tips on Restaurant Week, check out: How to get the most out of Restaurant Week


  1. Restaurant week is tricky! In March I went to Marliave and really enjoyed their RW menu. They had a ton of choices - most of the items were on their regular menu (so you know that they do them well). The french onion soup w/ short ribs was fantastic!

    Can't wait to hear where you go!

  2. Hey, we met briefly tonight at the Boston Food Blogger's event. I'm looking forward to browsing your blog. I've also had some bad Restaurant Week experiences with places that didn't seem too thrilled to serve customers from the restaurant week menu (not sure why they were bothering with it in the first place). But one of the best experiences I have had was at Rialto in Harvard Square. Delicious food and great service, no matter how much money you were spending

  3. I will keep both of these suggestions in mind:) Whereever I go I will be sure to blog about it asap:)

  4. Have a good two weeks frugie. Looking forward to reading about it.

  5. I am going to Scampo for lunch today and Mooo tomorrow. I have never done the lunch RWs before but they look pretty good. Great way to stretch your RW dollars. Any suggestion in Beacon Hill or Downtown for next weeks lunches?

  6. oh sounds good! I have not been to any of the lunches either but have heard great things! As far a Beacon Hill goes, apparently Beacon Hill Bistro is great. Marliave is supposed to have a good one Downtown... let me know where you end up going!

  7. I go to BHB and Marilave a lot. They are both great, but I am trying to branch out and try new places. Another great lunch spot in the area that has RW going is Pierrot Bistrot Francais. It is a pretty authentic place (French owner, crappy french pop songs playing in the back ground, sometimes surly waitstaff :P). But the food is really good and all of that seems to add to the ambiance. It is right across the street from my office so I eat there about once a week.

    Scampo was disappointing. We shall see how Mooo goes but the menu looks pretty darn good (planning the vichyssoise, steak, and cheese cake... I feel fatter just typing that ^_^).

    I am thinking of trying to find some place down in the waterfront for lunch tomorrow too as I rarely get down that way and am planning on going to the ICA/Cliff Diving event. Any suggestions down that way?

  8. I hope Moo is good too!
    As for the Waterfront, I love Temazcal, Legal Harborside would be good, but generic. Sportello is supposedly great but I don't love their menu...
    Del Frisco's would be a strong bet as well...I am so excited to see some cutting edge cliff diving!!

  9. Mooo... was everything Scampo was not. Quick efficient service (even though the place was packed), well presented, excellent food, AND great value. Honestly when I looked at the menu online, I figured it must have been mistake and that it was actually a dinner menu so I would be charged more or not offered that selection when I arrived. To my surprise the meal was as advertised.

    I started out with a great cold potato, leek and crab soup that was perfect save for a slight over use of the pesto garnish that was overpowering on the first spoonful, but afterward did not effect the great light flavor of the soup. I also have to mention the excellent rolls. Yep you heard me... rolls. Fresh from the oven slightly sweet, eggy dough with a light glaze of butter and drizzle of sea salt. Perfect.

    Second was the 12oz inch thick cut, well trimmed, perfectly seared and cooked to medium rare (pink all the way through but still 'bled a smidge') sirloin. It sat atop a bed of green and waxed beans tossed in a light vinaigrette that cut the heaviness of the meat perfectly.

    The meal was topped off with a tart sized cheese cake with tangy raspberry sauce. It had a perfect buttery gramham cracker crust, and a surprisingly light and fluffy cheese matrix as compared to most steak house sweet creamy bricks. A perfect ending to a great lunch.

    All that for the RW $20.11 lunch price! Honestly one of the best RW values I have ever found. Four "mini Clydesdale cyclists" (after my ballet injury I don't think I qualify giving out mini ballerinas ^_^)

  10. wow, now I want to try it!
    Ever thought of becoming a food critic? :)

  11. Learned from the best. :D I will leave that role to but might throw in a review or two like the one above now and then.