I’m sure many of you think that the time for Restaurant Week has come and gone. But oh no no… there are quite a few restaurants that have extended their participation on through September 1st, but only offering the menu Monday through Friday.

I have mixed feelings about Restaurant Week, which were somewhat confirmed by my two restaurant visits. But that will not keep me from going each time, and I recommend you use it as a good chance to check out some spots you wouldn’t otherwise. I’m a big fan of checking out the regular menus and pinpointing those restaurants where it would be a significant discount.

Cipriani - Wall StreetThe first restaurant I visited was Cipriani Wall Street. Many times, Restaurant Week options fail to highlight the best the restaurant has to offer or show any association with the appropriate season. I had their gazpacho (very appropriate for the day in July on which I went) to start, which was just perfect. The onions weren’t overly spicy, as they become when this particular soup has sat too long, and the vegetables weren’t chunky nor was it pure liquid. Just right. My main course, the branzino (a variety of sea bass), was flaky and light and came with an assortment of seasonal vegetables that made me think there’s hope for me rescinding my staunch dislike of olives.

For dessert, we each chose one of the different options available, which included a ricotta cheesecake, a chocolate torte, and a coffee cake. If I go back to eat here again, I will definitely have to get dessert, as there was not one I did not enjoy. Service was impeccable. Only thing I thought was odd was the entrance to the restaurant, which required going upstairs and around and left me thinking I was lost, and just the overall decor of the restaurant. I thought the food far outshined its surroundings, but then again, I guess if you’re only going to get one of those right it had might as well be the important one.

My second visit during Restaurant Week was to Petrossian, who is participating through September 1st. I originally thought Petrossian was a French restaurant but as I looked into it more, places had it classified as French, Russian, and New American. Huh? That seemed like quite a bit of variety – I was curious to see how the food was.

I opted to start with the smoked salmon appetizer, which came accented with dill and toast points. The salmon was good (and portion size was ridiculously large), but was not particularly memorable and left me eyeing one of my friend’s selection of the tomato vanilla soup, which came with avocado and crab. It looked very unique – I would recommend it out of the appetizers on the list.

For the main course, I went with their pan seared New Zealand pink snapper. It was quite good, accompanied by fresh summer grilled vegetables and a tabbouleh salsa. Others at the table opted for the hanger steak, which was served with a spinach and potato puree, sauteed wild mushrooms, roasted shallots, and red wine jus. It looked great and seeing as all was gone before I could ask for a bite, I think the verdict was that the steak might be the best alternative on the main course.

For dessert, I had read the summer berry souffle glace was the best option. Perhaps I should have instead gone with my gut instinct, which was the chocolate mint cake served with Creme Fraiche ice cream. The souffle was the low-point of the meal. It was basically a berry sorbet with little slivers of crust scattered throughout. It was a very anti-climatic way to end the meal. The chocolate cake, which I had read was dense and overpowering, was instead quite good. The mint was subtle, making it a dressed up version much akin to a Thin Mint.

I don’t know that Restaurant Week fairly captured the best this restaurant has to offer. The evening was rounded off by us being awkwardly but somewhat politely asked to move to the bar so that the table could be used for other patrons. I feel it’s only fair to perhaps give this one another try and order only what’s clearly a specialty item off of their full menu, although I will admit that in a city with so many fabulous options, the final treatment we received will likely deter me from a return visit. I don’t know if I can let such treatment by a nice restaurant slide.

Where have you tried for Restaurant Week this Summer? Any recommendations?

Cipriani Wall Street – 55 Wall Street (between Beaver and Hanover) – 212.699.4099

Petrossian – 182 West 58th Street (at 7th Avenue) – 212.245.2214

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