NYC Restaurant Week has been presented as a kind of budget prix-fixe since its inception in 1992, when the fledgling promo was $19.92 for lunch at some of the city’s favorite restaurants over the course of four days.
Almost three decades later, twenty bucks for lunch still doesn’t exactly sound cheap, but then, like now, the price tag was relatively more affordable than what one could typically expect from participating restaurants like early adopter Tribeca Grill. By NYC Restaurant Week, Winter 2020, two-course lunches and three-course dinners were $26 and $42, respectively, before drinks, tax and tip.
This year, the prices have gone down and up. Restaurants can now offer meal options for $21, $39 or $125 from July 19 through August 22. That top tier is Restaurant Week’s “Signature Dining Experience,” which must include at least three courses, ideally with “exclusive enhancements” or “perks,” according to the official event site. Reservations do not become available until July 12, and until this season’s restaurants, and their menus, are released, it won’t be clear precisely what accounts for the extra cash in every case.
An NYC Hospitality Alliance post attributed to Restaurant Week organizer NYC & Company does have a bit more detail, however. “We encourage exciting add-ons such as beverage pairings, merchandise (e.g., cookbook, restaurant-branded food items), chef visit to table, chef’s table, off-menu items, etc,” the post reads.
Like most seasons, some restaurants have already posted their Restaurant Week menus in advance of the official reveal. Philippe by Phillipe Chow’s $125 Signature Dining Experience, for example, will include three courses like green prawns, roasted Peking duck and sorbet, plus two bottles of house wine for parties of six or more. STK Steakhouse’s pairs wine with its jumbo lump crab cake, roasted rack of lamb and chocolate cake. And Lure Fishbar appears to be offering an amuse of tuna tartare, followed by Maine lobster carpaccio, crab salad, seafood fra diavolo and Meyer lemon panna cotta.
A full list of our favorite NYC Restaurant Week, Summer 2021 restaurants and their menus will be available here in the coming days.