Everyone from Marc Vetri to Marc Summers has issues with Restaurant Week. Criticisms — some well deserved — range from overcrowded restaurants, skimpy $35 prix fixe meals, ravenous and rude deal-seekers and the turn-em-and-burn-em mentality of greedy restaurateurs. Still there must be some good to the now twice annual promotion, right? Meritage’s Anne Coll thinks so. She sees Restaurant Week as an opportunity to grab the attention of potential new clientele. “I think it’s so competitive now to get customers in, more restaurants are putting out much nicer menus than they were when Restaurant Week first started,” Coll told Grub Street. “You have to if you want to get diners in.”
Coll adds that simply trotting an uninspired Restaurant Week menu with chicken, salmon and a token vegetarian dish no longer cuts it. “We’re offering things like foie gras, Berkshire pork, day boat scallops and escargot to bring people in,” she said. “We always get new repeat customers from it.”
From the service standpoint, Coll said Restaurant Week’s monotony is a lot like the movie Ground Hog Day. Even more so since its been expanded to two weeks. “No matter what us restaurant workers say, it does help all the restaurants the city,” she said.