Thursday, February 12, 2009

Best and Worst for Restaurant Week

Restaurant week is always an adventure. There are winners, and there are losers. Either way, it's always a great opportunity to determine just which restaurants are worth full price.

Dino is a great pick. With the option of a half pasta, or hot or cold antipasti for the first course, plus the availability of everything on the menu, their RW menu is full of delicious options. I would recommend any of the fish or pasta options for the main course here, particularly the tilefish. The option of adding a $4 cheese course seems like a bargain. However, with grappa and a satisfying dolce course still to go, the fromaggio may just be too much, even if the price tag is under $40.

In all fairness, Dino's "restaurant week" deal is available most of the time right now, not just the 16th through the 20th. There's also always the early-bird menu, for pre-theater or other dining prior to 7 pm ($24). Plus, their Valentine's menu shames other restaurants with a $59 price tag. So, while the RW deal is not the only way to take advantage of the tasty Venetian fare at Dino, you will not regret this reservation.

Other great picks include Capital Grille (yes, cliche, but just try the NY Strip salad), Bistro Bis, TenPenh, and Firefly.

Now, what to avoid. First, I have to put Mio on the list. During our last RW stopover, Mio's offerings were not inspirational, and lacked flavor. Looking forward to the relief of dessert, we found that this course was not only flavorless, but also lacked texture. Only two or three options were available per course. What's worse, nearly half of the menu was unavailable for our 7:00 reservation, hardly late night dining. The service also lagged, even though the restaurant was nearly empty. It was a disaster, and I couldn't fairly recommend Mio to anyone of whom I'm fond.

I also would skip Oya, Domaso, and Oyamel (at least for lunch) this week.

Looking for more recommendations: check out Todd Kliman's guide to restaurant week (v. helpful).


Anonymous said...

Just a heads up about Mio- since the previous RW you alluded to, they have a brand new chef who has turned the restaurant around. Nick Stefanelli has been in the kitchen since this fall and has done wonders for Mio. Based on his talent and creativity, I would definitely move Mio back to the top and give it another chance.

iEatDC said...

I agree that Dino won't let you (or your guests) down--it's downright delicious. And the space is just warm. Yum!

W. Mark Felt, Sr. said...

As for Mio, with all due respect to the new chef, my debacle of a RW experience was in late November. (Mio was running a special promotion to bring in some business around the holidays.) Stefanelli had already taken the helm when we dined.