The city’s biggest restaurant event ever is almost here, but you won’t want to wait to make these reservations.
The winter edition of NYC Restaurant Week (Jan. 18-Feb. 5)will have the most participants in its history, with 372 restaurants across the five boroughs serving special prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner over 19 days. And with 34 cuisines represented, you’ll never eat the same dish twice.
Among returning favorites like Lafayette, Narcissa and Craftbar turning out three-course lunches ($25) and dinners ($38), there are also 41 newcomers like Jean Georges’ ABC Cocina and Cherche Midi with its unmissable burger. Here are some of your best bets, from trendy spots to great values.
The newcomer making a splash: Sessanta
New Italian spot Sessanta appeared on nearly every best-of list at the end of the year. Now that the balmy Mediterranean coast feels farther than ever, it’s time for dishes like sausage meatballs with Sicilian honey and rolled flank steak studded with lardo. Get your dinner with a generous 7-ounce quartino of wine to keep things lively. 60 Thompson St., SoHo
Playing favorites: Asia de Cuba
After closing in 2011, it took former hot spot Asia de Cuba until early 2015 to return, but chef Luis Pous is making up for lost time with the kind of East-meets-Caribbean fare that makes us glad the fusion trend hasn’t passed yet. Lucky you, the unmissable tunapica tartare makes the cut for its Restaurant Week menu, as does the glazed cod with avocado-poblano puree and a dessert that truly combines the two great cuisines: tres leches with chocolate-Szechuan peppercorn ice cream. 415 Lafayette St.
For the best people-watching: Sant Ambroeus
The fashion-forward set have colonized Sant Ambroeus, an understated bistro that exudes the kind of classic sophistication that only French women seem to have mastered. The food is definitely cheat-day fare if your job is to fit into size 0 dresses though — think burrata, tagliatelle with veal ragu and the house specialty chocolate cake made with custard and mousse. 259 W. Fourth St.
Power lunching: Smith & Wollensky
You’re probably a regular at Fourth Wall Restaurants’ newest steakhouse, Quality Eats, but Smith & Wollensky is the OG that’s been keeping the Midtown expense account set in deal-making beef since 1977. All the steaks are aged in-house, and the filet and sirloin both made the Restaurant Week lunch menu, as well as their colossal lump crab cakes and the coconut layer cake that is worth its own trip. 797 Third Ave.
Making a change: Hearth
You’re not the only one who made a resolution to eat better this year. Chef Marco Canora just rebootedHearthto reflect his changed eating philosophy, ditching flour and processed oils for nutrient-dense fare like bread made with long-fermented grains, a “variety burger” that uses organ meats, and carrot and beet tartare. 403 E. 12th St.
Checking in: Tavern on the Green
Now on its third chef since reopening less than two years ago, Central Park dining icon Tavern on the Green is eventually bound to get it right. (Right?) Restaurant Week is the perfect chance to give this pricey classic another try and see what former Russ & Daughters chef John Stevenson has been doing with the menu, like the new signature burger made with brisket and shortrib for lunch, or a classic London Broil with creamed spinach at dinner. 67th Street & Central Park West