Ask the Critics: What Are Some Affordable, Non-Gimmicky Restaurants Where I Can Celebrate Thanksgiving?


Rob Z. asks: I was wondering if you had any recommendations for Thanksgiving. My friend and I are going to be by ourselves. Do you know of restaurants that will be open that day? We would love cheap and affordable … and wouldn’t even mind places that weren’t doing the whole gimmicky T-Day stuff. Thanks so much.

Dear Rob: I can sympathize with your search for an affordable Thanksgiving restaurant. Many New York City eateries are going to be open, but at the majority of them, a full-on Thanksgiving feast costs upwards of $100 per person. Nevertheless, I’ve uncovered several spots that’ll be open on the 24th and whose celebratory meals are both somewhat unusual and in the $50 range or cheaper.

Kefi is doing a great Thanksgiving deal, served from noon until 10 p.m. For $25.95, you’ll encounter a Greek-American menu, with dishes like arugula and chicory salad with dried cherries and manouri cheese, turkey avgolemono soup, roast turkey with mashed potatoes or lamb shank with orzo, and walnut cake and ice cream for dessert.

If you want something even more exotic, however, you could check out the Thanksgiving special at Ofrenda Cocina Mexicana, which will be offering a four-course Mexican meal. You’ll begin with guac and chips, followed by either seafood pozole or poblano and chestnut soup. Then comes either roasted turkey with mole sauce and chorizo-tortilla stuffing or codfish with nogada sauce, and, finally, either roasted plantains with maple glaze or churros. That meal is $40 and will be available from 2 to 10 p.m.

Also on the inexpensive side is the Thanksgiving dinner from the Sunburnt Calf. For $30, you’ll get a glass of sparkling wine and dates wrapped in bacon to commence the evening, followed by either butternut squash and ginger soup, roast root-vegetable salad, or duck liver pâté, then the somewhat traditional roast ham or turkey, but also grilled barramundi. For dessert, you’d be wise to get the pavlova, though traditional pumpkin and apple pies are also available.

If you’re definitely looking for turkey that’s out of the ordinary, you might want to swing by Socarrat Paella Bar in Chelsea, which is offering a $35 three-course menu, beginning with either butternut squash soup or green salad. But the star of the dinner is a turkey paella topped with wild mushrooms, apple soffito, squash, chestnuts, and onions. The sweet course features a pumpkin manchego cheesecake. Dinner will be served from 4 to 10 p.m.

DBGB, Daniel Boulud’s sausage-centric restaurant is also doing a Thanksgiving dinner for $49 from noon to 9 p.m. The three-course feast includes either a squash soup, chopped salad, country pâté, or fried calamari to start; main courses give you a choice of either turkey with classic sides, pan-roasted monkfish with braised red cabbage, or gnocchi Parisienne. Pumpkin tart, Black Forest cake, or apple cobbler round out the dessert options.

While Back Forty is offering a bunch of traditional items, they’ll also be doling out dishes like roasted beet and fennel salad with squid, black pepper pappardelle with saffron-cauliflower puree and hazelnuts, and pan-roasted sturgeon with kidney beans. The three-course (plus sides) menu will set you back $55 and will be served from 2 to 7 p.m.

And finally, Benoit, one of the most underappreciated fancy restaurants in Midtown, is doing its own three-course feast for $59. It’s slightly more expensive than the other options, but you’ll get twice-baked upside-down cheese soufflé (or foie gras terrine for $5 more), then either turkey with foie gras and chestnut stuffing or pasta with pumpkin and ricotta, and a baked apple pastry for dessert. In terms of bang for your buck, it’s a good deal.