In ‘Restaurant Week’ Jersey gets the best of both worlds

Phillies or Yankees? Eagles or Giants? Philadelphia or New York City? The College is smack-dab in the middle of two of the best cities on the map. Which city is the most deserving of the title “The City” is something that the student body may never agree on, but we can agree that either way, traveling north or south can lead to an epic night out. This month each city offers an added incentive to make the trip, a unique opportunity to dine at the finest, best restaurants that would normally be way out of budget.

Restaurant Week has become a tradition in both cities, only occurring a handful of weeks out of the year. The 100+ restaurants that partake in the event create a fixed-price menu consisting of three courses: a first course, an entrée and a dessert. Typically there will be two or three options for each course. Restaurant week price regardless of what you eat or where you order is set at $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner. The fixed price menus can already be found online.

This year the event will take place in Philadelphia during the weeks of Jan. 22-27 and Jan. 29-Feb. 3. In New York City, it will take place on Jan. 16-Feb. 10 (Monday – Friday).

The featured restaurants are not just your average restaurants, but some of the best that appear in magazines. Many are run by renowned chefs and are visited by famous athletes and celebrities. What other opportunity may you have to eat at the Food Network’s Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in NYC? At Mesa Grill start your meal off with a sweet potato soup, move on to Sixteen Spice Chicken and finish up with coconut bread pudding, normally a $55 value for the set price of $35.

In Philadelphia eat seasonal American cooking featuring local ingredients at Supper. The New York Times highlighted Supper for the way it “perfectly captures the spirit of Philadelphia dinning.” Enjoy the four courses featured on their fixed-price menu, which would run upwards of $50 any other week out of the year.

Don’t be intimidated to enjoy some fine dining on a budget. Dress to impress and follow a few simple tips for nailing a successful restaurant week. 

First, make reservations early — everyone and their moms are eager to take advantage of this opportunity, and the best restaurants fill up first. Second, hit the web for the complete list of restaurants that are taking part. Stalk their website, menus and read what other people are saying about them. Be very selective with your restaurant choice. Take into account location, atmosphere and course options. Lastly, know what is included in the fixed price menu and what is not to avoid any additional charges or up sells on things such as bottled water.