New York is chock-full of fancy restaurants with wallet-busting menus. But if you go at lunchtime, you can often get yourself a real deal.
The lunch tasting menu at Bouley (163 Duane Street; 212-964-2525) is abundant and totally worth it at $55 for five courses (and it comes with plenty of amusing extras to make you feel extra-posh). Start with a smoked salmon blini, maybe move onward to the Chatham sea bass with peas and fava beans, then a melt-in-the-mouth Kobe-style beef cheek with pillowy blue-kale gnocchi, strawberries with almond ice cream, and a chocolate soufflé.
Uptown (get your jackets on, gentlemen), head over to Jean-Georges (1 Central Park West; 212-299-3900), where a very special lunch can be yours for $48 for two courses (or three for $72). To put this in context, the same plates at dinner are $128 for three courses. Enjoy peekytoe crab risotto, foie gras brûlée, or sautéed veal scallopini with Flying Pig ham, mushrooms, and lavender.
If Italian abundance is more your style, check out the $49 four-course tasting menu at Babbo (110 Waverly Place; 212-777-0303), currently featuring baby artichokes and grilled heritage pork loin. Or reserve a table at Del Posto (85 Tenth Avenue; 212-497-8090) and indulge in a $49 four-course lunch that’s full of tempting choices: pork and veal agnolotti, or halibut with Moroccan spices and toasted almonds. Decisions, decisions. Don’t miss the pecorino romano cake with honey and preserved cherries.
For $47, you can head to Marea (240 Central Park South; 212-582-5100) for a two-Michelin-star lunch (two courses). How about Pacific jack mackerel, prosciutto, celery, and tomato, followed by tagliata featuring Creekstone Farm sirloin, bone marrow panzanella, and braised romaine? Or push the boat out all the way and sample the five-course seafood tasting menu, which is $80 ($140 with wine).