The summer edition of NYC Restaurant Week has arrived. You can make reservations now for deals at 386 participating restaurants through August 17th. How can a ravenous New Yorker whittle down the choices? Depends on what you like. Among this year’s offerings are nearly a hundred American Traditional spots, followed by 86 Italian restaurants, dozens of steakhouses and French bistros and brasseries, nearly as many Mexican joints, a smattering of Chinese, Greek, Indian, seafood, soul food, vegetarian, and Vietnamese options, and two places with the nerve to identify as “eclectic.”
Every borough is involved this season (although there are only 13 restaurants between Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island) and weekday lunch specials are down a few dollars and a few calories. Twenty-six bucks now buys a two-course midday meal -- nobody has time for dessert on a work day, anyway. Three-course dinners still run $42. These four weeks in the throes of summer are like a culinary leap year -- free celestial time to be bold, take a risk and try something new. Realistically though, you’ve maybe got the time and money to try, what, like five of these places? Here are the best of the best. And remember the bi-annual NYC Restaurant Week refrain: tax, tip, and drinks not included.