It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year! I say one of the most wonderful times, because this happens twice a year – once in the winter and once in the summer. It’s NYC Restaurant week, which means that it’s pretty much Christmas in July (and August).
Honestly, there are only a few things in this world that can truly make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The first thing are puppies.
The second thing is food.
The third thing is Brett Eldredge’s voice.
Actually, food and puppies are pretty much tied for first. Sorry Brett, you’re still coming in third (although now that you have Edgar, we might be able to arrange something to get you a little bit higher on the list. HMU sometime, K?).
For those of you who don’t know (I’m so sorry you’ve been so sheltered up until now), NYCRW allows you to shove your faces with a special three-course, prix-fixe meal at certain restaurants throughout the city for a lower price than normal. AKA: great food that won’t break your bank. Most restaurants have specials for lunch, dinner and brunch seven days a week. Always make sure to check though, because some restaurants might exclude Saturdays and Sundays.
So what is a prix-fixe meal? Basically restaurants offer a minimum of three choices for appetizers, three choices for entrées and at least two desserts. There might be some restaurants that also offer drink specials, supplemental items and other à la carte options for an additional price, but that’s up to them.
Okay, so because I’ve been running around like a crazy person, I’ve really only had time so far to visit one restaurant on the list of 370 picked for this summer’s season. It was my best friend’s birthday and I wanted to treat her.
The list can get a little bit overwhelming but luckily OpenTable allows you to filter based on location and cuisine. Picking the location was easy (Manhattan), but the cuisine? There are just too many good options. I could go with American, Cuban, Italian, French…the list goes on and on. The problem was I wanted all of it. I have zero self control with food (by choice)…like the limit does not exist (you all wonder why I workout so much? So I can eat more). Texting a boy? I have literally all the self control in the world (mostly because idgaf basically all the time). But passing by a pizza place? Yeah, no shot. I already ordered a pie for myself (and no, I’m not sharing).
Anyway, to get back on topic, knowing my best friend, only two options really and truly made sense: burgers or sushi (now you probably get why we’re friends: same favorite foods, duh).
I decided on burgers because it’s been over a week since I’ve had one and that’s just way too long. I work in Midtown and she works in FiDi, so I needed to find something that was in the middle for us. After yelping the shit out of it, I decided on DBGB in the East Village.
Naturally, we got nothing on the Restaurant Week menu because we’re assholes. She ended up getting the Steak Tartare and I got The Yankee Burger. For those of you who follow me on snapchat, you’ve already seen the burger in all of it’s burger-y glory.
For those of who who don’t follow me, what the hell is wrong with you? Just kidding. Here’s what we got:
Images courtesy of Yelp
We also got calamari as an appetizer. And wow. Just wow. I’m genuinely not sure if I liked my calamari or my burger better. We all know how much I love burgers so for me to say my calamari came close is impressive in itself. The calamari came with a vidalia onion beer batter and I legitimately thought I had died and gone to heaven. As an Italian, it takes a lot for me to admit anyone’s calamari is better than my own. So that’s how you know.
As far as ambience, it’s such a cool place. I don’t think the images on Yelp actually do it justice. It’s so much bigger than you’d think. The only way for me to describe it is that I felt like I was in France circa 1950…but trendier?
Their drink selection is also pretty impressive. I ordered a beer that’s only available in two places in Manhattan. Manhattan! Do you know how much beer is in Manhattan?! It was by pure dumb luck that I managed to find a restaurant that’s only one of two places to carry this specific beer but I mean it must’ve been something special because I was feeling it real quick.
Pricing really wasn’t even that bad, despite the fact that we didn’t get anything off the Restaurant Week menu. For two girls who ordered beers, an appetizer and their own respective dinners, it came to just under $100. That’s honestly not awful.
The only downside to DBGB is its location. Unless you go to NYU or are okay taking a cab/hopping on the subway, it’s not too convenient to get to. Even coming in from Hoboken, it’s a 20 minute walk from the Christopher Street PATH.
Overall, I give it a 9/10, because of how far it is from everything.
Oh, remember how I said NYC Restaurant Week happens twice a year? I figured while on the topic, I’d included where I went for this past winter’s restaurant week: Butter Midtown
Butter is in the heart of midtown and pretty much smack-dab in the middle of Penn Station, Grand Central and the 33rd Street PATH. For any Food Network fans, this is definitely a place you’ll want to check out. Headed by Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli, Butter was Guarnaschelli’s first restaurant as an executive chef. Since Butter’s inception, she’s made a name for herself on shows such as Chopped.
Butter is such a niche place. You better pay attention or you might just walk right past it. It’s a little hole in the wall on 45th, but as soon as you walk through the doors and head downstairs, it opens up to this grand room. The wine cellar is bigger than my apartment, and my apartment is huge by typical standards. The main dining room has foliage everywhere. My first feeling when I walked into Butter was that I was relaxed. There’s something very zen about it.
As far as the food goes, I actually did take advantage of the restaurant week menu (I went with my then-boyfriend and was trying to be semi-nice to his wallet). I ended up going with the fish of the day: Halibut.
I love halibut because it’s such a delicate fish. When cooked, you want to make sure that it just flakes easily with a fork. Typically drizzled with lemon, Butter took it a step further. They made a lemon tartar sauce, but it wasn’t thick. It’s difficult to explain…I mean granted this was one dinner I ate six months ago and I’m trying to remember as much as possible…the finer details are a bit hazy but I do remember it being amazing. If you’re anything like me, then you can imagine the flavors sort of melding together in your mouth. Wait, I’m actually getting legitimately hungry talking about this. Thankfully, because I got the fish of the day, which is ever-changing, I couldn’t find a picture to do my fish justice (which is good because now I don’t have to stare and drool at it).
So now that I’ve divulged some of my Restaurant Week picks, I think it’s super important for me to talk about my Honorable Mention: This restaurant wasn’t/isn’t part of restaurant week but I can’t not talk about it: Black Tap. Going to Black Tap was honestly a game day decision 4th of July weekend. Known for their famous milkshakes, they definitely brought all the boys to the yard. The most annoying thing about Black Tap is that you can’t make reservations at either of their locations so basically, if you do decide to go, good luck to ya.
But it’s so worth it.
Images Courtesy of Yelp
I mean I think I was in a legitimate food coma for about three days after. In addition to getting a milkshake, I also got a burger (did you expect anything less?) and tbh, it was actually mouthwatering. It got tweeted about, and then it got retweeted about. I can’t remember the last time I had a burger that good.
But honestly, if you really want to know all about Black Tap, their burgers and their milkshakes? Just follow them on insta: @blacktapnyc (but like seriously, just do it. I promise you won’t regret it).
Okay. So now that I’ve thoroughly made myself hungry AF writing this post, I’m gonna bounce and go grab some brunch in Hoboken.